By PDG Cindi O’Neil

April 26, 2022 — On April 5 PDG Sergii Savadskyi of District 2232 of Ukraine gave a live address to the Rotary Club of Greater Bend on Zoom, in a room of 50+ spellbound members.

In his parting remarks he made a plea for help: “We call upon all Districts (of the world) to apply for Disaster Relief Grants from Rotary International. These grants can now be directed outside your Districts to Ukraine for humanitarian relief.” In a paddle raise immediately following the presentation, $11, 500 was raised by generous Club members to send directly to Ukraine for humanitarian relief.

In the days following, PDG Cindi O’Neil emailed the sitting Ukrainian District Governor to ask, “What is your greatest need?” Governor Bondarenko said, “We need fire trucks to put out fires in bombed buildings to assist in the extraction of people.” Through Rotary networks reaching all the way to Austria, DG Bondarenko’s team found a fire truck. The grant submitted by our District Leadership of $25,000 was approved overnight. The funds have been wired to Austria. Soon the firetruck will arrive at the border of Ukraine. DG Bondarenko and a fire officer will be driving the truck to Kharkiv. And the Rotary Club of Kharkiv will coordinate getting the truck into the right hands. THIS is the power of Rotary and the Rotary Foundation. Donations to the Rotary Disaster Relief Fund can be made online at www.rotary.org.