Several days after returning from Ukraine, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas are still processing the sights, sounds and smells of that war-torn nation.
But they sat down with Dick Kalt, podcast director for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.
In this special addition of the biweekly feature “Westport … What’s Happening,” Tooker and Koskinas — the first American officials to travel east of Kyiv, to the Donetsk Oblast — describe their visit to Westport’s sister city, Lyman. The trip was arranged by Ukraine Aid International, founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer.
They saw first-hand the life-changing impact of residents’ $252,000 fundraising, over the holiday season. They spent hours with their counterparts, Lyman’s mayor and police chief, cementing relationships that had begun by Zoom.
Though just a few kilometers from artillery shelling, they were well protected by military forces from the moment they crossed the Polish border.
Their time in Lyman was highlighted by impromptu meetings with grateful residents. Some put on their best clothes to greet the Americans, and say thanks.
Click below to hear Tooker and Koskinas’ first reflections from their groundbreaking, friend-making journey.
(The second round of donations for Lyman has begun. Click here, then select “Westport” from the “Where it is needed most” dropdown menu. And mark your calendar for July 9: A town-wide “Lyman-AID” celebration with food, music and more. It’s free — but there are also many ways to contribute to help our sister city. Click here for details.)