Langford Mayor Stew Young has returned from his trip to observe humanitarian efforts in the Lutsk region of Ukraine, along with retired fire chief Bob Beckett, GlobalMedic volunteer Shawn Carby, and videographer Brendan Strain.
Young and the team delivered supplies to impacted communities in the country with support from GlobalMedic, a Canadian non-profit that works in disaster relief. During the trip, food security and firefighting rescue gear were donated while displaced Ukrainians were hired to prepare meals and pack and distribute meal kits for those in need.
“Participating in this humanitarian aid mission has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life. It has demonstrated to me that not only are our humanitarian efforts critical, but everything needs to be done to resolve this conflict and provide for everlasting peace,” Young said in a statement. “I am proud to be part of a community that cares deeply about others both at home and abroad. Through their generous support, we were able to deliver critical aid and supplies to those in desperate need.”
Four municipalities and their school districts have signed sister city agreements, according to the statement, which will help further support, and promote cultural and commercial ties while schools share curriculums and create a pen pal program.
“Every place we visited, everyone we spoke to, reinforced for me that throughout the world we all want the same for our families and communities. A roof over everyone’s head, food on the table, a future for our children and to live in peace,” added Beckett, who is also the Sooke School District board vice-chair. “With stocks diminishing and winter looming, and despite their future looking bleak, the peoples’ resolve to defend their families, their country and sovereignty has not waivered.”
GlobalMedic received funds from the city’s Langford Supports Ukraine money-raising campaign, which had raised more than $500,000 in total as of June 8, including a $150,000 grant from GlobalMedic. At a press conference announcing the trip, Young said the total fundraising figure could climb to above a million and the campaign is still taking donations.