I don’t know what day of the week it is, I only know that it is the morning of day 21 of the invasion of Ukraine. As I sit, drinking my coffee and following the news, I find myself sad about the friends we’ve lost, worried about the safety of our family still in Ukraine, and proud of the incredible unity and fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people. I’m even a little optimistic – because the map of Ukraine has looked roughly the same for at least a week, and there are signs everywhere that the Russian army is out of ideas. I don’t consider shelling apartment complexes, schools, and hospitals an idea.
Three weeks ago, we were living our best life in Ukraine, coaching golfers, getting our games together, and loving our beautiful city of Kyiv. On Feb 24, early in the morning, we were jolted from our sleep by Russian missile strikes and drove west, eventually finding our way to the Polish border. It was nervewracking to say the least, as we half expected to see Russian tanks and troops around every curve. Shortly after our arrival, we learned that our beautiful golf course – Golfstream Kyiv Golf Club – was destroyed in a battle between Ukrainian forces and Russian paratroopers. What happened to our staff of greenskeepers and clubhouse workers is still unknown.
What are we doing at PGA of Ukraine today? Well, most of our golf coaches have joined the Territorial Defence forces, and are at their posts defending their land. Our office in Kyiv is working, doing all they can to support the families of our members in harm’s way. They need money, food, diapers, medicine, transportation, security, and what any other family needs when one of their breadwinners is away serving the country.
Anna is splitting her time between several different humanitarian efforts. She gives out food at the Polish border, prepares beds in refugee shelters, and helps to gather humanitarian aid to be sent to Ukraine.
I’m in constant contact with people in the golf world, trying to raise awareness, funds and get our message out. I also visit my friend Chris in the hospital quite often. He escaped from the battle of Irpen – one of the bloodiest scenes of the war so far where several prominent journalists were killed. We worked together with Chris’s family, a private security team, and our network inside Ukraine to get him to Poland. We met him here and took him straight to the emergency room. He’s been in the hospital ever since and we hope he will make a full recovery. His story needs its own article, and I promise to tell it soon.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the Polish people for opening their hearts to us. We are staying with a lovely couple who have generously given us a room in their apartment. They ask for no money and honestly, they are overfeeding us. Poland is now overflowing with Ukrainian women and children, every home has refugees staying in it, and new shelters are going up everywhere.
So, I will close by saying that we will continue our efforts to help refugees, and support our organization inside Ukraine. We can help people get out of dangerous areas. We can get them food, medicine, and basic necessities. But we need your help. Please consider donating to the following link:
Thanks for your support
~Jeff and Anna