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After helping Ukrainian refugees, woman reflects on volunteer trip abroad

Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-23 19:16:22-05

A Kewaunee County woman is back home after helping Ukrainian refugees as part of a volunteer trip abroad.

Joanne Lazansky, who is a Kewaunee County Board member, spent three weeks in east-central Poland during October.

Children, ranging in age from a baby to 17 years old, and their mothers made up the group of about 40 Ukrainian refugees, said Lazansky, who noted that she tried to connect with the mothers in the group.

"The burden of everything is on the shoulder of the moms, she has to try and have her children feel like their life is somewhat normal," Lazansky said.

Activities with the group included bowling and dining together.

"It meant so much to them that you were reaching out to them, and they realized that the war has gone on pretty long, and yet you haven't forgotten them," Lazansky said.

"...[T]hey would keep telling us, 'Don't forget about us, don't let anyone forget about us.'"

Lazansky said that, compared to her previous volunteer trips abroad, she realized she will never again see the Ukrainian refugees.

"When I go to other places, there's always the possibility of me going back and seeing the same people again," Lazansky said.

The refugees have some tangible reminders of the group's time together.

"We took them shopping for shoes, so that was kind of an early Christmas present," Lazansky said.