MUSCATINE, Iowa–The Muscatine Action Committee for Ukraine successfully brought four more Ukrainian refugees to the area Oct. 31. A pair of friends, Iryna Husak and her 10-year-old daughter, Yevheniia Fur, and Maria Tyazhkun and her 11-year-old son, Dmytro Romanyshyn, represent the latest group of Ukrainians to find shelter in the Muscatine area.
Originally from Liviv in western Ukraine, Husak and Tyazhkun worked as professional photographers. Becasue Husak’s daughter has cerebral palsy, Husak wanted to get her out of Ukraine to a safer location where she could continue receiving physical therapy. Tyazhkun and her son decided to come with her to provide support and companionship.
Thanks to the help and support of the Muscatine Action Committee for Ukraine, they had the opportunity to do just that. As Muscatine Action Committee for Ukraine member Walter Conlon observed, “a war zone is no place for a disabled person and their care givers,” and the group felt pleased that they could help bring these two families to safety.
After arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport late on Oct. 31, they traveled to New Boston Illinois, just across the river from Muscatine, to stay with Bob and Shirley Gochee. As winter approaches, Conlon says the group will likely help them try and find housing in Muscatine to make it easier for them to get around and access services even when it snows. They will also help enroll the children in school and find a suitable physical therapist for Yevheniia.
As the most recent Ukrainian refugees begin to get acquainted with the Muscatine area, Conlon thinks they will do quite well, as the other Ukrainian families have really started to feel at home. Since arriving, the Luka’s daughters have enjoyed attending Susan Clark Junior High School and the parents have begun taking English language learner classes at Muscatine Community College. The adults in the Slyviak family have enrolled in English language learner classes as well, and the children have started school at Saints Mary and Mathias, and the daughter, Yeva, has enjoyed starting flute lessons. All of the adults in both families have applied for work permits as well and look forward to finding work as soon as they can.
With the possibility of more Ukrainians coming to Muscatine in the future, Conlon welcomes more volunteers willing to provide housing and financial backing for refugees to contact him by email or by calling 563-676-6307. “We always need people who are willing to host and people willing to sign the financial affidavits.”
As the Ukrainian refugees settle in to Muscatine, they sometimes have needs for specific household goods, clothing, personal care items, or assistance with transportation. As the four newest refugees start their lives in Muscatine, volunteers will work with them to help identify their specific needs and reach out to the community to meet them. Conlon welcomes people to reach out and inquire about those needs, as they change each time a new group of people arrives or as new needs arise.