My friends in Ukraine are getting ready for the winter and keeping their fighting spirits. Folks are buying portable stoves, power banks and generators. It promises to be a difficult season.
My friend Ihor is on the front lines. Whenever I check in, he says that all is well and sends a smiling picture of himself in uniform. I am in awe since I know that he was not a military type before the war, and he has a little daughter at home. He is in his 40s.
His sister, Lesia, is working hard to sew uniforms for pilots. Before the war, she owned a boutique for traditional Ukrainian clothes. Then she found out that pilots don’t have the flame-retardant clothing needed to keep them safe after they catapult.
Now she spends her time sourcing flame-retardant materials from across the world. Her work is vital since pilots are some of Ukraine’s most critical fighters. She has worked with companies operating in Ukraine to donate their surplus sewing capacity but, of course, costs add up with each button and zipper.
Lesia, like her brother, remains undaunted in facing these challenges. Her positive spirit is infectious. Sometimes I get down when I see America’s support for Ukraine wavering or see reasonable people call for negotiations with a terrorist state and for Ukraine to concede its territories. But then I remember Ihor and Lesia, who remain strong in their faith in Ukraine’s victory and willingness to sacrifice to make it happen.
If they are persevering in their fight so can we in our support. If you are interested in supporting Lesia’s work, please let me know. You can also support two great organizations — United Help Ukraine and Come Back Alive.
-Katia Pokhodnya is a Bolton Hill resident and a native of Ukraine