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Members of sister city Olomouc enjoy stay; Owensboro’s Ukrainian Relief Fund still taking donations after goal not met

May 20, 2022 | 12:11 am

Updated May 19, 2022 | 10:09 pm

Photo by Josh Kelly

Members of Owensboro’s sister city Olomouc, Czech Republic, spent some time in Owensboro this week and said they enjoyed the experience. Tonight, at the kickoff of Friday After 5, those members will receive donations from the Ukrainian Relief Fund created by the Owensboro Sister Cities and Regions (OSCAR) Board.

The fund was founded in March to collect donations for the Olomouc representatives, who would in turn give the funds to Ukrainians who have sought shelter at a refugee camp established at Chernivtsi University in southwestern Ukraine.

When the board launched the fund, they hoped to raise $30,000 to donate to the refugees. However, that goal has not been met.

Adrienne Carrico, executive director of OSCAR, said they are still counting the number of donations received so she could not give the official amount raised so far, but that they have not reached the $30,000 goal.

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“We are going to continue to seek donations even after they leave so that we can hopefully get to that goal,” Carrico said.

The check presentation will happen at around 7:30 p.m. during the “Toast to Sunset” made by local officials during Friday After 5.

Beyond accepting the donations, the guests have been exploring every corner of Owensboro to learn a bit more about what the city has to offer.

Carrico said they’ve been taking trolley rides through town, and they did a walkthrough the Owensboro Municipal Utilities water treatment plant, Western Kentucky Botanical Gardens, Green River Distillery Company, and several other places.

“They’ve gotten to meet a lot of different members of our community and really seem to be making a connection with everyone that they’ve come in contact with. But we’ve really enjoyed having them here,” Carrico said.

One of the stops that the group was adamant about wasn’t a normal attraction on Owensboro’s tourist list — but instead was to simply go to a grocery store.

While there, Carrico said she had never seen so many baskets full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, as each member loaded up to share with their families back home.

“It was really neat. The things that you see every day that is kind of an exciting thing to them,” Carrico said.

Carrico said she is appreciative of the experience, as she and Zdenka Podlipska — who serves in the Department of Foreign Relations and Delegation Translator in Olomouc — have spent about 4 years emailing, but never meeting face-to-face. The experience has been like meeting an “old friend.”

Podlipska and her colleagues, including Mayor of Olomouc Miroslav Žbánek, said at Thursday’s Daviess County Fiscal Court meeting that even with the 30-year partnership between the sister cities, nothing compares to being in the experience in Owensboro.

“There is nothing to be compared to my personal contact and to be present here because we have since our first day here felt like we are among our friends and we are a member of your family,” Žbánek said.

He said roughly 600 kilometers from the Czech border, the war in Ukraine has been continuing on and he is thankful that during their stay in Owensboro they are able to feel like they are supported by our community through the donation.

Donations can be made at any Independence Bank location, or via Paypal here. Donations are tax-deductible as OSCAR is a 501(c)(3) organization.

May 20, 2022 | 12:11 am

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