September 30, 2022

ilpuntontc

Just Do Travel

Lincoln travel agency helps hundreds of Ukrainian refugees find shelter

5 min read

For decades, Lincoln businessman Steve Glenn has helped Husker fans travel to big games and bowl appearances.Now he’s using his travel agency and expertise to help Ukrainian refugees find shelter in Poland.”Basically we went out and reserved the month of April for 50 hotel rooms to hold 200 families that were refugees and had no place to live,” Glenn said.He called it Operation Safe Harbor Ukraine.”We put them in a private room where they can be with their children, so they’re fully safe,” Glenn said. He said because of the community’s generosity, Operation Safe Harbor Ukraine has raised more than $220,000 and enlisted church and community groups and dozens of volunteers who have traveled to Poland to help.”It appears we’ll be able to support refugees for the month of April and even part of June,” Glenn said.He recently traveled to Poland and saw the desperation first-hand.”If you think about it, the trauma of losing your home, your family, your neighborhood, your job, all those are lost,” Glenn said. Most of the refugees were women and children. Many were sick.”One of three people staying at the hotel have medical problems because they’ve had to come from Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland. And that’s a 10- or 12-day trek on foot and the cars and buses trains and through six inches of snow and spring rains,” Glenn said.He said many were in shock.”This is helping people in their darkest hours,” Glenn said.He saw thousands of people sleeping in mass shelters or train stations.One woman with three children had just lost her husband in the war.”That was a tear-jerker for us because we just didn’t know how to help,” Glenn said.He said they got her counseling and tried to give her comfort.”There’s not much we can do and she had just lost everything,” Glenn said.He said all of the donations go to hotel rooms, food, clothes and medical attention. Volunteers help families fill out paperwork and even arrange passage to other countries.”We’ve sent 11 families already to Canada, the U.K., Spain and even two families into California,” Glenn said.He is working on flying families to Lincoln and Omaha as well. So far, Operation Safe Harbor Ukraine has helped over 200 families.”We think we’ll be over 500 or 600 here in the next month,” Glenn said.While in Poland, Glenn traveled to the Ukrainian border.”We came upon miles and miles and miles of semi-trucks waiting at the border with supplies to go into Ukraine,” Glenn said.He also saw men carrying rifles heading into Ukraine.”These were Americans, these were Brits, these were Europeans that were going into battle,” Glenn said.Glenn said his team of volunteers works with local organizations to identify families who need help.”This is to show Ukraine we love them. And then America cares. And America feels this isn’t right and we support you,” Glenn said.Glenn said they could see the gratitude in their smiles.One gesture that especially touched him and the volunteers was a hand-drawn thank you card from a 10-year-old refugee.”It was a hand and the hand was the color of the flag of Ukraine with a heart with a flag of the United States,” Glenn said.”What a powerful drawing,” Glenn said.”We are so blessed in the United States.”Here is a link to Operation Safe Harbor if you would like to help.

For decades, Lincoln businessman Steve Glenn has helped Husker fans travel to big games and bowl appearances.

Now he’s using his travel agency and expertise to help Ukrainian refugees find shelter in Poland.

“Basically we went out and reserved the month of April for 50 hotel rooms to hold 200 families that were refugees and had no place to live,” Glenn said.

He called it Operation Safe Harbor Ukraine.

“We put them in a private room where they can be with their children, so they’re fully safe,” Glenn said.

He said because of the community’s generosity, Operation Safe Harbor Ukraine has raised more than $220,000 and enlisted church and community groups and dozens of volunteers who have traveled to Poland to help.

“It appears we’ll be able to support refugees for the month of April and even part of June,” Glenn said.

He recently traveled to Poland and saw the desperation first-hand.

“If you think about it, the trauma of losing your home, your family, your neighborhood, your job, all those are lost,” Glenn said.

Most of the refugees were women and children. Many were sick.

“One of three people staying at the hotel have medical problems because they’ve had to come from Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland. And that’s a 10- or 12-day trek on foot and the cars and buses trains and through six inches of snow and spring rains,” Glenn said.

He said many were in shock.

“This is helping people in their darkest hours,” Glenn said.

He saw thousands of people sleeping in mass shelters or train stations.

One woman with three children had just lost her husband in the war.

“That was a tear-jerker for us because we just didn’t know how to help,” Glenn said.

He said they got her counseling and tried to give her comfort.

“There’s not much we can do and she had just lost everything,” Glenn said.

He said all of the donations go to hotel rooms, food, clothes and medical attention.

Volunteers help families fill out paperwork and even arrange passage to other countries.

“We’ve sent 11 families already to Canada, the U.K., Spain and even two families into California,” Glenn said.

He is working on flying families to Lincoln and Omaha as well.

So far, Operation Safe Harbor Ukraine has helped over 200 families.

“We think we’ll be over 500 or 600 here in the next month,” Glenn said.

While in Poland, Glenn traveled to the Ukrainian border.

“We came upon miles and miles and miles of semi-trucks waiting at the border with supplies to go into Ukraine,” Glenn said.

He also saw men carrying rifles heading into Ukraine.

“These were Americans, these were Brits, these were Europeans that were going into battle,” Glenn said.

Glenn said his team of volunteers works with local organizations to identify families who need help.

“This is to show Ukraine we love them. And then America cares. And America feels this isn’t right and we support you,” Glenn said.

Glenn said they could see the gratitude in their smiles.

One gesture that especially touched him and the volunteers was a hand-drawn thank you card from a 10-year-old refugee.

“It was a hand and the hand was the color of the flag of Ukraine with a heart with a flag of the United States,” Glenn said.

“What a powerful drawing,” Glenn said.”We are so blessed in the United States.”

Here is a link to Operation Safe Harbor if you would like to help.