Statement of Support for Ukraine
On behalf of Orange County REALTORS® we would like to express our deepest condolences to the people of Ukraine who have lost their lives, their homes, and their sense of security while protecting their country from the Russian invasion. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people abroad as well as those that are here locally. I encourage you all to take a moment to read a heartfelt letter from one of our REALTOR® members, Olesya Drozdova, as provided below and consider making a donation to one of the following organizations in support of the Ukrainian people.
International Committee of the Red Cross is working to repair vital infrastructure, support health facilities with medicines and equipment, and support families with food and hygiene items. UNICEF is working to ensure Ukraine's children have access to safe water, nutrition, health care, education and protection. Doctors Without Borders is working to set up emergency response activities in Ukraine and dispatching teams to Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.
We support you, Ukraine.
President, Orange County REALTORS®
Good Afternoon President Rodell,
Today my country is fighting the war it did not start. At 5:00 AM on February 24, 2022 Russia insidiously launched a total, all-out war on Ukraine by bombing and shelling throughout Ukraine's territory, by advancement of Russian troops, tanks, armored vehicles and ships into Ukraine from North, East and South.
This is the first war of this scale in Europe since the end of World War II. Back then Russia, as part of the Soviet Union, was fighting against Nazi Germany. Today it is Russia who is the aggressor, and it is Germany who is helping Ukraine fight for her freedom and survival.
The last few days, from the night of February 24, have been a constant roller coaster for us here in the United States from check-in calls at all hours of the day, to calls from like-minded people looking for the ways to help and figuring out what we can do. It is taking a toll on our friends and family and the citizens of Ukraine trapped under heavy Russian artillery, but it is also taking toll on us here, in the U.S.
Among the 15,000 members of Orange County REALTORS® there are some of Ukrainian origin, like me. I would like to ask you to help them through this difficult time by sharing a message of support. It will mean the world as I can tell from my experience. This is why I stopped crying. Thanks to hundreds, if not thousands, messages of support I personally received in these past 6 days. This is why I am posting messages from our REALTOR® friends worldwide on the group Facebook page for Association of Real Estate Professionals of Ukraine. Support means a lot.
Speaking of our REALTOR® friends in Ukraine, some are fighting in the Armed Forces and others in territorial self-defense units. Natalia Mitsuta, Vice President for the Union of Real Estate Professionals of Ukraine, for example, volunteers in Kyiv between bombings and before the 5:00 PM curfew by delivering supplies for newborn premature babies. REALTOR®, famous blogger, and Board Member of FIABCI-Ukraine, Elena Malenkova, is fighting in the informational space. Igor Balaka, the VP of Ukrainian Association of Real Estate Professionals, is fighting to protect Kharkiv from the Russian occupants, and coordinating volunteer efforts for this area. Igor Balaka was the head of Ukrainian delegation that visited Orange County REALTORS® at our Laguna Hills office in November of 2019 as a part of their post NAR Convention in-bound Trade Mission. They are all NAR International REALTOR® Members, amazing human beings and grew to be my dear friends. They, and the other 40 million citizens of Ukraine are strong, #UkraineStrong, but they all need help. I am looking for ways to amplify my message of how our fellow REALTORS® can help and I am asking you, as our President, to see if this is something we can do together. I truly believe that during this unprecedent time we can make a difference, because the very existence of this world now depends on one small country, Ukraine, and whether it will be able to defeat the global enemy, President Putin and his Russian regime. If not, I just wonder which country will be next.
I have also received numerous requests from our Global Business Alliance Committee for information on how to help. There are different ways, from collecting health-related items and humanitarian aid to be sent there, to expressing support and sending it to our peers in Kyiv for distribution to their membership, to providing financial assistance by donating directly to the Armed Forces of Ukraine or to specific local units for specific needs to help to specific families. The situation is changing on an hourly basis and some needs become irrelevant while others appear to be more urgent. I am monitoring on an ongoing basis.
I would like to attach a message and a photo I received from Igor Balaka, after talking to him. By the way, his hometown, Kharkiv, is now in ruins. The largest square of Europe was there, symbolically called Freedom Square.
Thank you for your time!
REALTOR®, CIPS, AHWD
HomeSmart Evergreen Realty
Photo from 2019 Ukrainian Delegation visit to Orange County REALTORS®