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Local News

March 8, 2014

Area teacher evacuated from Ukraine

A 2012 Hartwick College graduate who joined the Peace Corps is among volunteers recently evacuated from Ukraine.

Brendan Cahill, 23, of Airmont in Rockland County, said he is eager to return to his assignment teaching English at a secondary school in Zolochiv, a city in an area he described as not unlike Oneonta.

And though he is home in New York, he continues working and staying in touch with Ukraine connections through social and communications media.

“I, along with many Peace Corps Volunteers, are still actively in touch with our Ukrainian schools and organizations, working on our various projects and teaching English lessons that began prior to leaving,” Cahill said in an email. “So, while we are not physically in Ukraine our work still continues through what our office in Kiev calls `Virtual Peace Corps.’

“I’ve also been making some contacts with Ukrainian American organizations to offer any help I can provide and schools to do presentations,” he said. “Most importantly, though, I am maintaining contact with my Ukrainian students and still continuing our Peace Corps mission in Ukraine.”

Cahill couldn’t comment during a telephone interview this week about political tensions in Ukraine because of Peace Corps policy. But he did share that he wants Americans to know that the country is more than a name in the news and that he hasn’t met more friendly and hard-working people than in Ukraine.

“The people are very kind, very loving, very open,” Cahill said. A common phrase in that country, he said, is that “Ukraine is one big village.”

Ukraine has been in the midst of a political crisis sparked by ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of a partnership agreement with the European Union in favor of historical ties with Moscow, according to an Associated Press report this week. After Yanukovych fled Ukraine last week, Russian forces moved into Crimea, despite President Barack Obama’s warnings that there would be costs for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

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