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Businessman and pastor return from Poland/Ukraine trip

The two helped raise more than $140,000 for orphanages in Ukraine.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — It's one thing seeing pictures of what is happening in Ukraine, but it's much different seeing it in person.

"It's an experience that will go a long way. You're never going to forget it," Vinny Clausi said.

"It was quite an experience, an experience of seeing people in need," Fr. Mycola Ivanov said.

Northumberland County businessman Vinny Clausi and Fr. Mycola Ivanov of Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church in Shamokin recently returned from a trip to the Poland/Ukraine border. The two distributed more than $140,000 in cash and gifts raised by people in Northumberland County and beyond.

"Tablets, we bring shoes, we brought a truckload of food. We went to the grocery stores and took care of the small orphanages and the big orphanages," Clausi said.

Clausi and Ivanov spoke to students and community members at Shamokin Area High School. They showed pictures from their trip and discussed what it was like to meet refugees and orphans from Ukraine.

"They didn't know where to go. They didn't know the language, the city, and they didn't know Poland, but they run from those missiles," Ivanov said.

Fr. Ivanov was able to see his parents, who are from Lviv, Ukraine. Clausi also traveled across the border and met with orphans in Lviv.

"We had to wear a helmet. We had to wear a vest, and an alarm kicked on with the sirens. It was really scary," Clausi said.

"They will remember those moments for the rest of their lives because they've been touched by two guys who came from Shamokin," Fr. Ivanov said.

The two say this is an experience they will never forget, and they are thankful to everyone who donated to the fundraiser, making this possible.

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