Ukrainian Julie planning return trip; RCF prepares for relief

While Rotary Club of Farragut members are making plans to welcome 2007-2008 Rotary Youth Exchange student Julie Sergyeyeva Tryukhan of Ukraine back to East Tennessee, the club and community have been asked to volunteer for Operation Inasmuch to help pack meals for Ukraine relief aid.

Earlier this month, Rotary Youth Exchange chairman Bill Nichols reported Tryukhan, now 32, and her two small children were cleared to travel to the United States under the Uniting for Ukraine process.

“What we know is she’ll probably come in June or the first part of July,” Nichols said. “We got an e-mail and she gave me the sizes of the clothes for her children.”

He added Tryukhan’s approved application indicates it would expire on Aug. 8 if she has not traveled by that date.

“We’re trying to meet with our Foundation board to talk about how we can make donations and make them tax deductible,” Nichols said.

Additionally, some RCF members had a Zoom meeting Monday, May 30, with her former host father, Bill Vogel in Knoxville, to coordinate her arrival. Vogel and his wife, Diane, have agreed to sponsor the Tryukhans in the United States.

“We’re in a holding pattern right now to find out what Julie wants,” he added. “We’re looking for a place for her to live (in Knox County) … appliances, sheets, blankets and clothing.”

The former Webb School of Knoxville RYE student and her children fled from war-torn Ukraine to Zilina, Slovakia, in April with help from Slovakian Rotarian Juraj Sabaka, father of another former Webb School RYE student and Rotary Club of Žilina, Slovakia member.

Tryukhan’s husband, Dima, who is serving with the Ukraine Army, fighting on the front lines, has since been reassigned.

Meanwhile, RCF president the Rev. David Bluford, said he received a fax from Operation Inasmuch (“In as much as you have done for these little ones, you also do to me,” Matthew 25:40), a local non-profit organization that packs non-perishable food for distribution around the world. He said the organization is packing 250,000 meals for relief aid in Ukraine.

“We’ve been invited to participate in the food packing event (starting at 8 a.m.), Saturday, June 11, at Expo Center off Clinton Highway,” Bluford said. “They raised the money that’s needed already but they need 1,100 volunteers to work two-hour shifts.”

He said volunteers must register to participate by calling Jim Hollerman of Knoxville Volunteer Rotary Club, 865-803-7777.