Whatever you’ve done this summer will pale in the light of what one of our Rangeley families has experienced. Maybe you had a long drive to get here or perhaps you flew part way and missed a connection or had a cancellation of your flight. I’ll bet what ever happened to you, it did not take you 62 hours to get to Rangeley! Unless, you came by ox cart!

Up on Dallas Hill, there is a family just now discovering the wonder of grandparents and the grandparents finding the great fun of having grandkids they’d never met. At this moment, Tom Watkin works for the Town at the Rangeley Transfer Station and his wife Khrys is a stay at home mother with three young children. In late July, the Watkins family went to Boston to pick up Khrystyna’s parents whom she had not seen for years. They were fleeing their homeland in the Ukraine with the intention of returning when the war with Russia ends.

Their travels took them from Uman by bus to the city of Warsaw in Poland for a 35 hour tour of Poland. In Warsaw, they boarded a plane to Amsterdam and finally, a plane to Boston. Can you imagine the emotions they were dealing with during those long hours? Their home in Uman was where the first death of this invasion by Russia into the country of Ukraine had occurred. That was enough to plant the seed in their heads of fleeing everything they had ever known.

As you might imagine, they are here with few belongings, little money and no jobs or no place to live. Rangeley, being Rangeley, will undoubtedly help. However, any of you who would like to get these folks started on life’s next journey are invited to do so!

Any of you who use the Rangeley Transfer Station can certainly give Tom cash or check to help with the family’s expenses. Also, the Catholic church has offered to be a conduit and checks can be made out to the Watkin family co Catholic Charities of Maine and mailed to Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, PO Box 333, Oquossoc, ME 04964.

This article would be longer and more in depth about the hope and needs of the family, but both Tom and his father in law came down with Covid! The heat, the Covid and the newness of all of the relationships make it foolish to attempt an in depth interview at this time. We will provide you with that in Chapter 2 of the Expanding Ukrainian population in Dallas!! Stand by!

It does appear that having a Visa and legal entry into the country makes it very difficult to get assistance with food, housing or jobs although they are eligible to work. Well, after Covid isolation is past they can look for work despite having no English language skills. They are firm in their desire to return to their country to live when it is safer and when they do, they will have a pension of $140. per month from their combined income to live on. Incredibly, at this time in Ukraine, all of their needs would be met with that amount of money. Of course, all of this will now depend upon the end of the war with Russia.

If you would like to help out the family, they would be most grateful. Tom Watkin, PO Box 993 , Rangeley, ME 04970


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