Ken Bernhard has a very impressive resume, as an elected official and volunteer.
He spent 8 years representing Westport in Connecticut’s General Assembly, rising to assistant minority leader. He was our 3rd selectman from 1987 to ’89, then served on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The longtime Westporter has been a board member of the Westport Library, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Norwalk Human Services Council, Earthplace, Westport Historical Society, Levitt Pavilion, Aspetuck Land Trust, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and Connecticut League of Conservation Voters,
Further afield, he has worked with Syrian refugees. His latest project is in Ukraine. Ken writes:
I just returned from Poland/Ukraine. I helped deliver medical supplies, including (tourniquets, compression bandages, catheters, bandages and more.
All was donated locally, to Westport EMS, Colonial and Achorn’s Drug Stores, Walgreens, CVS, and Norwalk Hospital.
The equipment was requested by Westporter Brian Mayer, who has been in country for 3 months helping with the crisis. His parents, Jeff and Nancy, joined me with duffle bags of their own list of requested supplies.
Brian is a remarkable young man (34), who helps, works and coordinates efforts in Ukraine each day until 3 p.m. Then, with the 6-hour time difference, he goes online to work at his US office for hours.
He is connected with a group of fascinating young volunteers (in their 20s) from all parts of the world. They drive supplies from Kviv to the troops on the front lines (round trip takes 40+ hours).
Their stories of determination and courage of providing supplies and equipment, where the government and not-for-profits are overwhelmed, leave me in awe.
For 5 days we met dozens of other volunteers who have come to Ukraine because they felt the need to do something to help. The internet and chats groups are remarkably effective. Strangers connect, meet, organize and mobilize in efforts to bring food and medical supplies where they are needed.
It was a true honor working with each and every one of them. The crisis is so much more palpable and critical when seen first hand.
I would be remiss if I didn’t pass along a request.
Mykolaiv (population of 200,000) is a key shipbuilding city in the south. Its infrastructure, including water purification systems, was destroyed by Russian missiles. Most drinking water is contaminated. There is a need to construct new systems.
The group that Brian works with has located a supplier who will deliver and construct small purification systems, each capable of providing enough daily potable water for 4000 people.
The first system was installed at the local firehouse a few weeks ago. Water is piped from a tributary off the Black Sea, and exits at a pipe in the firehouse where it can be accessed 24/7. Each system costs $6,000.
Jeff, Nancy and I can vouch for the dedication and trustworthiness of this hard-working international team of volunteers. For more information, click here. for Brian’s blog.
Tax-deductible contributions can be made to Brian’s newly created not-for-profit, Ukraine Aid International.
The need is urgent. Our help is impactful, and greatly appreciated by the people of Ukraine. Thank you in advance.