It is most gratifying to celebrate International Volunteer Day in a company of volunteers – ideally, joining their work. This in fact happened in our place. A special guest, volunteer Anna Dombrovskaya, visited Den/The Day’s editorial office on December 5. Shortly before, she had received an honorary badge, “For Merits to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” on behalf of Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Naturally, we congratulated Anna, while Den’s editor-in-chief Larysa Ivshyna presented her with some of our library books as part of the new initiative to deliver books to Donbas frontline schools.
The decoration for merits to the Armed Forces is justifiable, for Ms. Dombrovskaya had long been dealing with the ambulance equipment and the collection of medicines for the military. Yet she equally helps civilians, too. Firstly, it is not only soldiers who receive the same medicines. Secondly, it is also her old initiative to deliver bread and the Ukrainian press, including Den, to frontline cities and villages, thanks to which we met the volunteer.
Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day
“The award was unexpected,” Anna confesses. “It is Colonel Oleksii Nozdrachov, chief of the Civilian-Military Cooperation Directorate of the Armed Forces, who handed it to me. We were invited to the launching of the second volume of Remembrance Book which includes the names of servicemen from various regions of Ukraine, who died defending this country. We came and took some pictures of the event. There were also some other CIMIC officers there, whom we help. It is a great honor to me, all the more so that I am a foreigner.”
The volunteer reminded us that Den had suggested the book initiative. First of all, this helps top up rural schools’ collections because other volunteers shun going there. “The schools ask for contemporary Ukrainian literature, including Serhii Zhadan’s books. Children like adventure books by Volodymyr Rutkivskyi and about Harry Potter,” Anna adds. “Almost all of this is thanks to help from ordinary people. They keep sending books from various cities of Ukraine and from abroad, even from Russia. I am going to the east one of these days. When I come back, I’ll go on delivering newspapers.”