Gordon Glass Support Group helps Ukrainian family who arrived in May

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  • The concert will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 6 at First Presbyterian Church, 865 N. Dustin Ave. in Farmington.
  • Tickets are $10 at the door.
  • Call 505-327-5231 for details.

FARMINGTON — The late Farmington resident Gordon Glass is not here to witness the work of the support group that bears his name, but his friend Cynthia Rapp Sandu thinks he would nonetheless approve of what is happening in his memory.

Glass, a 78-year-old retired family counselor, community activist and outdoor enthusiast, died Jan. 22. To honor his legacy, several local residents who wanted to join a national network that supports Afghan and Ukrainian refugees formed a group to care for one of these immigrant families and name them after them.

On Monday, June 6, the Showcase on Dustin musical series continues with performances by a chamber music trio and a small brass ensemble. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Gordon Glass Support Group, a team of more than a dozen local residents working to ease the transition for a Ukrainian family who arrived in Farmington last week.

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Rapp Sandu is one of the founders of the group, along with Glass’s widow, Martia, and the Reverend Rebecca Morgan, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Farmington. She said the group originally intended to host an Afghan family. But when Russia invaded Ukraine and precipitated a humanitarian crisis that caused thousands of people there to flee the fighting, his group was offered the chance to help a Ukrainian family instead and quickly accepted.

Rapp Sandu said she thought naming the band after Glass was an appropriate way to honor a man who dedicated his life to building communities.

“Gordon would have loved that,” she said. “He’s not with us, but his spirit is.”

The family – two adult sisters and a 10-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl who are the children of one of the women – arrived in Farmington on May 28 and settled into the furnished home that the support group rented for them. . Both women’s husbands remained in Ukraine to help with the war effort.

“They’re just a fantastic family,” Rapp Sandu said.

The specifics of helping a Ukrainian family are significantly different from what the support group originally expected with an Afghan family, she said. For one, the family plans to return to their home country when it’s safe to do so, unlike most Afghan refugees, who have settled permanently in the United States, Rapp Sandu said. .

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The Ukrainian family members arrived here with little more than clothes on their backs after fleeing their home and staying in Spain for an extended period while waiting for permission to come to America. But Rapp Sandu said from the moment she met the family she was impressed with their poise.

“I was like, ‘Wow, this family is so remarkable,'” she said. “They were so confident, so positive.”

The mother-of-two understands and speaks English well, Rapp Sandu said, while the other woman understands it but does not speak it as well. The children have some familiarity with English, she said, so they won’t be starting from scratch when they start school.

Rapp Sandu said she and the rest of the circle are still trying to figure out what support the family, who are in the United States on a two-year humanitarian parole program, will need. But she added that both women had made it clear they intended to work while here and support themselves and the children if possible.

But until they are up, the family’s basic needs — rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation — are met by others. Rapp Sandu said anyone wishing to contribute to the welfare of the family but unable to attend the concert is free to deposit a check at the First Presbyterian Church office.

The Trio Pacifico and Classy Brass will perform at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 6 at First Presbyterian Church, 865 N. Dustin Ave. in Farmington. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 505-327-5231 for details.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.

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