Home USA News Before Thanksgiving, a Ukrainian family moves to Tri-Cities, Washington

Before Thanksgiving, a Ukrainian family moves to Tri-Cities, Washington

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The Sidarchuk family does not celebrate Thanksgiving, but they know all about the spirit of the holiday.

The family of 11 is grateful: for their safety, for their family and for the American people.

They landed in the US for the first time on November 1, having recently left their small village. Trastianka is located approximately 3 miles from the Polish-Ukrainian border. They now live with their family in the Tri-Cities.

For months – through blackouts and the distant sounds of sirens and gunfire – the family and their church helped hundreds of refugees on the last leg of their journey, providing beds, clothing and food.

But now they are on the other end.

Having just left their home, the Sidarchuks turn to the goodwill of relatives, non-profit organizations and churches to start a new, temporary life in America.

“Ukrainians are praying for people in America and are very grateful to those who live in America for all the support we get from this country in Ukraine,” said 45-year-old Yuriy Sidarchuk, translated by Pastor Vasyl Darashchuk Jr.

The Russian-Ukrainian war has been going on for almost nine months, as a result of which about 14 million people were forced to relocate. In the US there is allocated a billion in aid to the war-torn country in recent months — some of it ends up in towns like Trastianka, where taxpayer-funded aid has helped the Sidarchuk family help Ukrainians fleeing to Poland.

“This is a blessed country because they are always ready to help others,” Yuriy Sidarchuk said with a smile.

About 400 Ukrainians have moved to the Tri-Cities and Lake Moses area since the war began, said Ken Primus, director World relief of three cities.

Dorashchuk Jr., pastor of the House of Hope church in Pasco, believes that the Slavic population in Trigorod is now about 10,000 people.

Sydorchuk Ukrainian Family 2022.jpg
Bob Brody bbrawdy@tricityherald.com

Time to go

The Sidarchuks did not think of leaving their small western Ukrainian village until the war came to their doorstep. They were “the last big family to leave.”

Ukraine was “blessed” before the start of the war, Yuriy Sidarchuk said. There was “a lot” of work on the border, prices were normal, and life was stable.

“We lived in the village. My job was to install heating elements in houses. (Wife.) Nadya was a constant mother and worked with the children in the family, and we have, thank God, nine wonderful children,” said Yuriy Sidarchuk. “It was peaceful. We lived in our own house, we had our own jobs, our children went to school. … After the war, everything changed.”

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an all-out invasion of the country in February, many fled their cities and homes. The Sidarchuk family began to see more and more people passing through their small village, which is located near a major international highway.

The lives of most were turned upside down after the invasion.

Nadia Sidarchuk, 41, said they lived in a “beautiful” three-bedroom red brick house and were adding a second floor. Trastianka Christian Church was the centerpiece of the village of 300 inhabitants and later served as a home for refugees and the wounded.

Handyman and minister Yuriy Sidarchuk installed a shower in the bathroom of the church for the refugees who will sleep in the basement.

Trastianka was a place of hope.

On October 24, the Sidarchuk family and church members celebrated Harvest Day according to the Old Testament tradition. This Sunday they rested and prepared a large display of fruits and vegetables, cooked chicken and meat, prepared salads and other dishes to celebrate the holiday season.

But as the war progressed, people’s relationships changed, and so did the role of the family.

Airstrikes and the sounds of low-flying aircraft became more common. School was canceled more often. Electricity was rationed so as not to damage the country’s energy supply. Over time, people from neighboring villages also started asking for clothes and food.

One of their children also had a close encounter with a projectile fired from neighboring Belarus.

And quite suddenly, refugees stopped showing up at the doorstep of their church.

“One of the last reasons (we left. — BelTA note) — refugees stopped coming to our region, because our region was becoming too dangerous, that’s why the ministry was closing,” Yuriy Sidarchuk said.

“We understood that the lives of our children are more important than anything physical that we have,” said Nadia Sidarchuk.

So they headed for the border, leaving their home in the hands of a family member. One daughter, aged 18, stayed with her new husband.

New life

“We didn’t even plan to come to the US, but many of our friends and colleagues said, ‘You have a lot of children, what are you waiting for?’ Districts in Lutsk, Koveli are being bombed… rockets are flying. You are not safe here,” Yuriy Sidarchuk reminded.

Nadia Sidarchuk’s siblings live in the Tri-Cities area and in Idaho. The decision was made literally in a few days, their relatives offered them to move to America. They took off from Warsaw’s Chipin Airport and arrived at SeaTac.

Now in the Tri-Cities, the family enjoys trips to Columbia Park and spending time together. They look forward to celebrating Christmas and New Year. Their children are recorded Pasco Bilingual Programand they are on their way to becoming fluent in both English and Ukrainian.

Nadya and Yuri say that they hope to return home someday. But how soon?

“When Ukraine is free and the war ends. Perhaps this will be a decisive factor,” said Yuriy Sidarchuk.

Primus said the family’s courage is something he sees quite often at World Relief Tri-Cities.

“We have dozens and dozens and dozens of families that come here all the time,” he said. “That’s one of the blessings of this job that you hear every week.”

Because the family didn’t come to the U.S. through the Lautenberg Amendment, World Relief Tri-Cities’ primary family reunification program, Primus said they can offer the family little financial assistance in addition to some welfare and job training programs.

Primus said more than 90% of job-ready refugees are employed about four months after resettlement.

“We are very grateful for a program like World Relief. This is such a great help to the Ukrainians who come,” said Nadia Sidarchuk. She later added, “It’s always better to help someone than to need help.”

The Sidarchuk family is in dire need of warm clothes for their children this winter. They are also looking for bedding, kitchenware, appliances and furniture while they wait for approval for their own apartment.

They are also looking for a van to get around their large family. They are also working on obtaining driver’s licenses and work permit forms.

Yuriy Sidarchuk says that he is straining to return to work.

“I’ve never spent so much time with my family before. The children are very happy that dad is home,” he smiles.

How you can help

World Relief Tri-Cities has currently accepting donations pots and pans, dishes, cookware, towels, bedding, lamps and gift cards that will benefit refugees resettling in the Tri-Cities.

Financial and car donations are also accepted.

Tri-Cities residents can too volunteer your time as an employment coach, neighborhood teacher or English tutor.

You can also contact and donate to local churches with a large Slavic population. They include Church of Hope, A hungry generationand the Ark of Salvation in Kennewick.

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Eric Rosen is an accountability reporter who joined the Tri-City Herald in February 2022. He previously worked for the Daily Chronicle in Lewis County, covering education, county government and the Legislature. In 2018, he graduated from Central Washington University.

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