When Lliudmyla and Volodymyr Klevanska came to Maine to escape the war in their native Ukraine, they were welcomed into the Wayne community. Pictured holding the Ukrainian flag are, from left, Perry Ryerson, Anna Ryerson, Volodymyr Klevanskyi, Lloyd Irland, Liudmyla Klevanska, and Connie Irland. Contributed photo

This is my confession of love.

Yes, you got me right, I would like to express my love.

And, at the beginning, I want to say that this is the first time in my life that I am writing an article for the media, even though I have been retired for quite some time. The first time ever! But I just cannot keep silent.

All this started with a great tragedy which hit my country on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia treacherously attacked Ukraine.

I am not going to describe all of what happened afterwards; it is a topic for a whole separate story. But in brief, our longtime friends located in Maine, Douglas and Holly Stevenson, offered to invite my husband and myself to the USA in the framework of the United for Ukraine program. We accepted the invitation with great appreciation.

So, in early summer of 2022 we flew to Boston, where Douglas and Holly waited for us. Finally, we met, the smiling Stevensons and ourselves, also glad to meet them, carrying two suitcases in our hands and a myriad of uncertainties in our minds.


When the Stevensons brought us to Wayne, where they live, we saw people standing along the road and greeting us. Some of them had Ukrainian flags in their hands, others had flowers.

We were utterly astonished and touched by such a reception. But this was just the beginning. It is difficult to list all the good things they have done: They helped us to process different documents, drove us where we needed and even offered us their car. But the most valuable gift from the Stevensons was the fact that they got us acquainted with their friends and neighbors.

Thank you, Douglas and Holly, for everything you have done for us!

As I did not know English, the Stevensons took me to English classes within the framework of the Capital Area New Mainers Project managed by Chris Myers Asch, who also provided us with informational support.

There are so many more to thank.

A Ukrainian couple who moved to Wayne following the Russian invasion were welcomed wholeheartedly. One neighbor came by to give them a ride in his vintage car. From left are Volodymyr Klevanskyi, Mark Bachelder and Ken Foss. Contributed photo

Nancy. My teacher of English. I have never met such a teacher before in my life. In short, she is an expert in her vocation. She is not only an excellent teacher but also a very nice person. Owing to her we came to know wonderful people like Gloria and Karlos, as well as Maria.


Margaret. Then we made acquaintance with Margaret, who sometimes drove us to Augusta to English classes. She turned out to be a very easy to deal with and interesting person. Margaret always tried to help us and provide moral support.

Anna and Perry. What an extremely kind and nice family. And their granddaughter Grace is just a wonder. When we saw her for the first time, her braids of hair were decorated with blue and yellow bands — the colors of the Ukrainian flag. It was extremely heartwarming. And Anna, always smiling and ready to help.

Connie and Lloyd. One more family which also become our friends. Exceptionally interesting people with which we had a number of talks about our countries and whole world. And again, we were amazed with their attention, kindness and sharing hearts.

Sue and Ken. Another nice family which gave as a lot of attention, support and were always ready to help us.

Ken. Imagine that a beautiful vintage car of 1930 approaches your house and an imposing man comes out of the car and offers to drive you on this car around Wayne. That is how we came to know Ken, a very nice and interesting person.

Peter. We were told by people in Wayne that Peter is a very good person. When in early December of 2022 we moved to Peter’s house and met him every day we saw ourselves what an amazing, considerate and kind person he was. We are thankful to him and his entire family — William, Georges, Norine, Lynette — for their support and kindness.


Katarina. Now picture the following situation. On the eve of Christmas 2022 we hear tap on the door. We opened the door and saw at the entrance a beautiful stranger holding a big basket filled with Christmas gifts. She found out that a family from Ukraine lives in Peter’s house and decided to give us a surprise. Just as the Ice-Princess from the tale!

Kate and Chris. In some time, another stranger came to us with gifts for Christmas. Her name was Kate and later we often met her and her husband Chris.

Ruth. Meeting Ruth was especially interesting. Someday she invited us to her church in Gardiner, where she serves as a pastor. Together with the Stevensons, she organized an interesting gathering devoted to Ukraine and its capital, Kyiv. Sometime later Ruth carried out one more Ukrainian event.

Also, we would like to thank the pastor of Wayne Community Church, Reverend Juliao, for giving us a possibility to say good-bye in the church to the congregation when we were leaving Wayne. And we are specifically thankful for his kind words and his letter with a prayer for people of Ukraine and for the entire world.

We are very thankful to all of you for your support and help, for your kindness and understanding of what happened to us and our country. We wish you and your families health, happiness and peace in your hearts.

We love you very much, dear friends. May the love of God be with you.

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