Rotary Clubs Reach Out To Ukraine

For months, Americans have been flooded with news about Ukraine.

For most of us, it’s a foreign country. We can’t quite figure out its politics, its place in the world, or all the political and business figures with similar-sounding names who seem to be doing nefarious things.

Ken Bernhard is not confused.

Ken Bernhard

The longtime Westporter — an attorney who spent 8 years representing Westport in the General Assembly, rising to assistant minority leader; served as 3rd selectman from 1987-89; was on the Zoning Board of Appeals; has been on boards from the Library and Chamber of Commerce to Earthplace, Levitt Pavilion and Aspetuck Land Trust; helped found the Syria Fund for refugee aid, is involved with an orphanage in Haiti, collects shoes for thousands of children worldwide and raises guide dogs — has a connection to that Crimean nation too.

Three years ago, he taught law in the port city of Berdyansk. With that nation in the news now, he wanted to see what his Westport Sunrise Rotary Club — and its sister organization, the Westport Rotary — could do to foster the rule of law and due process.

“We wanted to give evidence that we support democratic values,” he explains.

Through a professor friend in Berdyansk, he found that the law university hoped to construct a moot courtroom where students could learn courtroom skills.

Both clubs quickly agreed to finance construction.

Nothing is easy there. But as soon as banking requirements are fulfilled, and the necessary documents are translated and executed, the project can begin.

There’s a lot we don’t know about Ukraine. But this is one unimpeachable fact: Halfway around the world, Westport is helping democracy thrive.

Ken Bernhard (left) with students in Berdyansk, Ukraine. They hold a Connecticut state flag.

7 responses to “Rotary Clubs Reach Out To Ukraine

  1. Ken Bernhard, always doing good in the world!

  2. Ken is an amazing man who is always at the center of projects to help others. In these terrible days if only he could be cloned! Keep up the good work my friend.

  3. Ken is one of those Rare Good Guys , who’s always giving back ..

  4. Yes to all, and thank you to Ken and Rotarians for your service.
    And thank you to Dan for a positive Ukraine story and a refreshing change from the daily news.

  5. Thank you, Ken!! … And Rotary Clubs!


  7. Great news .As part of Stamford Rotary my responsibility is membership and we are growing.
    When you are home you could be our guest at lunch any Tuesday. Perhaps we could help your project with a district grant. Please call if you get home for the holidays.
    Your In Rotary,
    Gail Malloy