By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A Ukrainian agricultural education organizer is touring the United States, raising money to rebuild rural villages ravaged by the war.
Roman Grynyshyn has worked with his partners throughout the West to create the fundraising project: World to Rebuild Rural Ukraine.
“We are trying to replace what was ruthlessly damaged or stolen from the least protected stratum of rural society,” Grynyshyn tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline.
Grynyshyn says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been devastating to rural Ukraine and its farms, cutting off agricultural production and preventing grain shipments. While the war rages and ruins much of his home country, Grynyshyn expresses confidence in the ultimate outcome.
“And there is not doubt that we will win,” Grynyshyn says. “The only thing is how long will it take us to return to this beauty as it was before.”
Grynyshyn says he has been impressed and encouraged by the reception he has received while touring the United States, especially with the reception he receives from cities with ties to agriculture such as St. Joseph.
Grynshyn spoke to the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce while in town. He has been speaking to several groups in the United States, making addresses to groups in Washington, D.C., Ohio State University, Michigan State University, the University of Nebraska, among others. He is speaking to Missouri and Kansas groups now before traveling to the state of Washington.
Grynyshyn has been coordinating tours and conferences for Ukrainian farmers the past 13 years. He had a conference set up for Costa Rica in late February, but as he prepared to leave the next day, the bombs started falling. Over the next two days, February 23rd and 24th, he gathered friends and family to flee the country. Grynyshyn says his large contingent waited for 34 hours to cross over into Poland, eventually taking refuge at a friend’s farm in Germany.
Then began the speaking tour in the United States.
Grynyshyn is also keeping those he speaks with abreast of the latest news from the war front.
“My information that I’m getting is not coming from some sources of media that can be biased or something like that,” Grynyshyn says. “I talk to the actual farmers, to actual agricultural business representatives and they say what they see, almost first hand.”
Grynyshyn charges that the Russian army has been ruthless in devastating rural Ukraine, both to intimidate Ukrainians and destroy the country’s agricultural industry.
Grynyshyn says many with ties to both Ukraine and Russia never suspected Russia would follow through with its threats against Ukraine.
“I had a lot of clients, Russian speaking clients, who said Roman, come on, they will never attack. They are our comrades,” Grynshyn says “And when the war started, I called them. They were literally speechless.”
Grynyshyn says a saying by his father doesn’t seem as humorous as it once did.
“My father always told me you need to learn as a priority two subjects at school. First, is the military, to be able to shoot, to know how to shoot and second is history, to know who to shoot.”
Despite the devastation of the war, Grynyshyn remains optimistic Ukraine will prevail.