- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2022

Ukrainian and American Scouts in the D.C. area are sending 900 emergency medical kits to war-torn Lviv this week.

More than 120 volunteers from the Ukrainian Scouting organization Plast DC and the Boy Scouts of America spent Saturday afternoon packing the kits at Westland Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland.

“This was an opportunity for our community to show the Ukrainian people that we stand with them, that they are in our thoughts and in our prayers,” Plast DC leader Andrew Demidowich said. “Any support makes a difference, even if it’s one life saved.”



Lviv, which is western Ukraine’s largest city, has become the de facto capital of that area since Russian forces invaded the country on Feb. 24.

Located 40 miles from the Polish border, the city has been a target of Russian missile strikes and a major transit point for refugees fleeing the country.

Ivanka Charchalis, a 15-year-old Ukrainian Girl Scout who lives in Maryland, said she volunteered Saturday to help her relatives in Ukraine.

“I think that it’s very unfair that Russia is being aggressive because they see that Ukraine is prospering, and it has been doing so well being democratic.” Ivanka said. “I have a lot of family in Ukraine, and I lived there for almost half of my life now, so I’m very hurt that this is happening.”

Aiden McCleskey, a tenderfoot Scout from Boy Scout Troop 61 in Northwest Washington, wanted to “gather resources” for Ukrainian civilians who get caught in the line of fire.

“I want to do this through Boy Scouts because it is good,” Aiden said. “A Scout is helpful, Ukraine is in a real time of need, and I want to help as much as I can.“

The emergency kits contain vinyl gloves, surgical dressing, gauze, butterfly closures, heavy-duty bandages and antibiotic ointment.

Steve Fox, assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 1434 in Potomac, said he was proud of his Scouts for helping.

“Scouts around the world pledge to do their best to be kind and helpful, among other qualities,” said Mr. Fox, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.

Founded in 1911, the Plast Scouting group includes children and adults. The former Soviet Union had banned it from operating in Ukraine before the country declared its independence in August 1991.

According to Plast USA, Plast Ukraine has 61 full-time staff and 10,000 members, including 4,000 of military age.

As of March 8, Plast reports that 700 members had joined the Ukrainian military and 1,000 had joined in territorial defense efforts against Russia. It said the first Scout in the armed forces, aged 19, was killed on March 5.

Plast DC includes Ukrainian and Ukrainian-American children and young adults residing in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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