A Ukrainian family of seven is currently en route from Warsaw, Poland to Weyburn. The Sunflower Network, a group of dedicated volunteers who help Ukrainian refugees to relocate to Saskatchewan communities was having a difficult time finding a place to relocate the family. A couple of the members from the network reached out to local resident Darcy McCormick to ask if he would be able to help, McCormick immediately jumped onboard.  

The Dmytryshyn Family originates from Noviy Rozdil, a city located in the western part of Ukraine. The family landed in Edmonton late afternoon yesterday. Before reaching their new home in Weyburn, the Dmytryshyn family will quarantine for two weeks at the University of Regina Campus, an ongoing COVID measure required by the federal government. 

We asked McCormick why he chose to help lead the way in helping this family settle in Weyburn. 

“I was one of the first group of Canadians in the former Yugoslavia, I’ve seen what destruction is for these families firsthand, and what it looks like for these families leaving their home with only what they can carry,” shared McCormick. “I was one of the peacekeepers on the ground with the United Nations in the early 90s.” 

“I didn’t live it, so I don’t know what it’s like, and I won’t ever claim to be in their shoes and hope to never have to. I still got to go back to a tent or a shelter at night and there was a kitchen and cooks there, with hot meals for us, there was still stuff that a lot of these people didn’t have.” 

We asked McCormick what the plan is going forward to help this family settle in Weyburn. 

McCormick shared that he was able to source a three-bedroom townhouse for the family to rent and Rose McInnes, owner of Blue Earth Environmental has been leading the way to help furnish the home. 

“We’re going to make sure they are set up for the first three months,” said McCormick.  

The family of seven consists of the father, Vasyl, age 42; the mother, Tetiana, age 41; Oleh, age 22, Vitalii, age 18; Zlata, age four; and Vladyslav, age two, and the grandmother, Mariia, age 72.  Mariia's travel has been postponed as she is currently experiencing a visa delay but will be on the next flight out of Warsaw which is estimated to leave within the next three weeks.

McCormick shared that currently, there is a restriction on their visa that they cannot work in agriculture until a certain federal medical is provided by a doctor. In the meantime, McCormick, who is also the CEO of Jerry Mainil Limited,explained that he has guaranteed the father and the two older sons jobs with the company. The mother Tetiana is a trained hairdresser, the search continues to find work for her in the community. 

While McCormick isn’t sure what the exact agreement is between the Government of Canada and the refugee flights, he did share that the European pilot flying the plane out of Warsaw is a private individual providing his personal plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is the second flight the pilot/owner has made. The first flight came into Regina; however, the second flight was required to go to Edmonton. Regina Airport Authorities explained they did not have all the necessary requirements to properly support the large aircraft. Previously, they had to outsource the stairs and ramps necessary for off-boarding, however this time the airport couldn’t provide all the necessary logistical support. 

McCormick shared that he has never helped with anything like this before, and it's been quite a steep learning curve. Learning on the fly, he’s reached out to several provincial and federal agencies including Southeast Newcomer Services to help make the transition for the Dmytryshyn Family run as smoothly as possible.    

“I've been talking with some of these organizations and Southeast Newcomers of Saskatchewan, there’s a lady by the name of Laura Eddy in Weyburn who has been a huge asset,” explained McCormick.  

“They recommend to take gift cards, to help them out financially, don’t take food because a lot of it will go to waste, they will try to eat it, because they are proud people like anyone, but they will often get sick because it’s not their regular diet,” explained McCormick. “It’s better to get gift cards from grocery stores and to help financially, to get them out in the community so they feel more a part of it.”

When McCormick spoke with the family their only request was that they would be in a place where they could all be together and an opportunity to prove they are worthy to be in our community.

For anyone wishing to help the Dmytryshyn Family, McCormick explained there has been a Trust account set up at the Weyburn Credit Union. Anyone can send an e-transfer to dmy@jmlc.ca or drop a check off at Jerry Mainil Limited made out to the “Dmytryshyn Trust” and they will make sure that all the donations go towards helping this family settle into Weyburn.