Tag Archives: Marshall Mayer

Westport Flag Flies In Lyman

A day after 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker formalized Westport’s sister city relationship with Lyman, our town flag was delivered to the war-torn Ukrainian town.

Soon, the Lyman flag will be sent here.

Brian and Marshall Mayer — the Westport natives who founded Ukraine Aid International, and helped forge the sister city partnership — met today in Lyman with Mayor Alexander Victoravich Zuravlov and the chief of police.

‘The Westporters, and Liz Olegov of the on-the-ground organization Alex21 — provided a report of the goods and materials on the way to Lyman. They also presented the flag, which Tooker had given them in Westport.

The flag was designed for Westport’s 150th anniversary, in 1985, by native Westporter and renowned artist Miggs Burroughs. He is of Ukrainian descent.

The mayor handed them the Lyman flag, and thanked Westport for its help. In 3 weeks, the town raised $252,000 for Lyman.

Holding the Westport flag (from left): Lyman’s police chief and mayor. With the Lyman flag: Marshall Mayer, Brian Mayer, Liz Olegov.

“I am excited to build ties with America and the West — especially Westport,” he said.

“Spending time with you Americans, I realize the only way we differ is our language.”

Mayor Zuravlov then gave the Mayers and Liz a tour of the town. Among the sites: a school, recently destroyed in a missile strike.

The most recent casualty in Lyman: a school, destroyed by a Russian missile.

Marshall Mayer’s Typhoon Aid

Nearly a decade ago, Marshall Mayer took the 1st Chinese class offered at Staples High School.

He graduated in 2009. Last month — Washington University diploma in hand — Marshall headed to Beijing. His goal was to increase his fluency in Chinese.

Then Typhoon Haiyan hit. Marshall contacted Young Pioneer Tours, and offered to help. The organization — “group tours for people who hate group tours” — is sending more than 50 volunteers from 8 nations to the Philippines. Their goal: rebuild Santa Fe Elementary School, on Batayan Island. Local officials want life to return to normal as quickly as possible there, but residents are busy reconstructing their own homes.

Santa Fe School is in ruins.

Santa Fe School is in ruins.

Marshall and his fellow volunteers will live on school grounds, at their own expense.

Young Pioneers asked Marshall to join its leadership team. They recognized his skills — many of which were honed in Westport.

Marshall joined Westport’s Emergency Medical Service at 16, and earned EMT certification. As a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 39, he learned survival and camping skills. He has Third World construction experience, thanks to Builders Beyond Borders.

A crew athlete at the Saugatuck Rowing Club, he knows how to kayak — a key form of transportation between Philippine islands.

As for his organizational ability — well, he was a prime mover behind a harmless, yet hard-to-pull-off, Staples senior prank.

Marshall Mayer

Marshall Mayer

Marshall is excited about his work. He’s also working hard to raise funds. Every dollar goes directly to the relief effort: tools, building equipment, a small generator, food for the locals, school and medical supplies. If the group has extra time and money, they will move on to the next school on  Batayan.

As Thanksgiving nears, Westport should give thanks to volunteers like Marshall Mayer, who help strangers halfway around the globe. And we should thank too our own town — and the many organizations in it — which provide young people with the educational and extracurricular opportunities to make a difference.

(To donate to the Young Pioneers Tours effort, click here. To contact Marshall directly, email msmayer8@gmail.com.)