Flags of Poland and Ukraine

March 7, 2022

Fortitude & Compassion

Dear Colleagues:

Although I have accomplished the ability to manage through “noise,” the past ten days have been extremely distracting and deflating. Never, in 2022, did I expect we would see the magnitude of the invasion of Ukraine that we are witnessing today.

The fortitude of the Ukrainian people is admirable! The footage we see includes the brutality of the invasion but also the unity, improvisation and determination for freedom and independence.

Slava Ukraini!

While living in Jackson, WY, my family became friendly with a gentleman, whose name is Stan. We met Stan in ’18, he was our taxi driver – we were frequent clients and appreciate how nice he was.

Stan was born in Ukraine - his wife and stepdaughter live in Belarus. Stan works in Jackson, WY driving a SUV taxi and managing our favorite Mexican restaurant. Stan commutes back to Belarus in the off season – providing and taking care of his family. 

For Super Bowl ’21, we invited Stan to stop by, between rides – he showed up on time and stayed for five hours – this is where our true friendship began.

Last week, I sat with Stan for a few hours – honestly, just listening. The hardship, stress and fear the people of Ukraine [and Belarus] are experiencing is beyond comprehension. He articulated what it’s like to hear his family say goodnight on the phone, not knowing if they will make it through the night. “The explosions happen all night long.”

This past weekend, we watched the 60 Minutes coverage of the 1.5 million refugees that have arrived in Poland. If you have not seen it, I urge you to do so. The compassion of the Polish people is so inspiring to see – so genuine coming from a country of such modest means.

As a contrast, we watched Saturday Night Live this past weekend and found the skits surrounding Ukraine to be completely inappropriate and distasteful.

I know we are all feeling compassionate but hopefully you take action and donate resources or volunteer time to causes dedicated to this crisis.

The fortitude of the Ukrainian people and the compassion of the Polish people has silenced the noise for me. We are humbled, we are donating, we are seeing Stan again Tuesday for dinner and his family and Ukraine are in our daily thoughts! 

Slava Ukraini!

This is Where We Are Now!


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