Killarney is home to three Ukrainian families and more are expected in town by the end of 2022.
Rick Pauls is a local business owner and is helping to coordinate the process of bringing Ukrainians to Killarney that are leaving their war torn country.
“Our community has been very supportive in helping these people when they come to town. What I’ve done is reach out to the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress in Winnipeg and asked if there was anything I could do to help and I offered to sponsor up to eight families to come to this area. Right now I’ve helped two who have landed and we have three more families pending who should be here in the next month and a half.”
Pauls grandparents in the 1920’s left the exact same area for the exact same reason. “Something resonated with me. When you see those pictures and the videos it tugs at your hearts strings. When you bring people over and you see the pictures and videos their friends and families are sending it’s heart breaking and the news doesn’t do it justice as to what’s happening over there. We’re very fortunate to live here in Canada” said Rick Pauls.
Pauls says support from groups like the Kinsmen and church groups has been tremendous. People have also been making private donations and he says it takes a village and everyone has stepped up.
“To be honest it started out with finding people who needed jobs out here because I could provide housing and a job and that’s worked out well. I have one lady working full time. The second family we’re looking to relocate them to Brandon because there’s more opportunities there. The idea wasn’t to have them stay in Killarney all their life but it was to help them get on their feet here in Canada but two of the families have already said Killarney will be there home for ever because they love the area.”
Rick Pauls says the longer it has taken people to get to Killarney the more heart breaking the stories are.
“We have people right now staying with me who in the middle of the night there phone goes off because there’s an air raid siren where there mother lives or where their husband is. They wait up through the night for a report to see if their loved one is dead or alive. That’s their reality every day and when you see their expressions and how they react to it I mean it’s absolutely heart breaking.
By the end of 2023 Killarney Turtle Mountain will have up to 30 residents from Ukraine.