Sign In For Members Join Sign In
  • Donate

  • For Members

  • Who We Are

  • Our Mission Our Faith Our History Supreme Officers About Membership Video Library
  • What We Do

  • Charity Insurance Invest Donor-Advised Funds Programs Scholarships Churchloan
  • Get Involved

  • Join Donate Find a Council Store College Councils
  • News Hub

  • Latest News Columbia Knightline Faith Response Social Media Hub
  • Contact Us

  • Safe Environment Program

  • Careers

  • Who We Are

    What We Do

    Get Involved

    News Hub

    The Road to Safety

    Ukrainian refugees travel to Slovenia in a bus sponsored by the Knights of Columbus

    4/4/2022
    Refugees from Ukraine arrive in Slovenia after traveling on a bus sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Photo courtesy of Tamino Petelinšek
    Video – Knight Organizes Relocation of Refugees

    Lubov Koropets and her children hid in their basement in Gostomel, Ukraine, when the Russian military bombed nearby Antonov Airport on Feb. 24. Confused and terrified, they eventually evacuated with the assistance of Koropets’ brother, who helped them weave through the ensuing mayhem.

    “We fled under fire,” Koropets recounted. “When I decided to run, the bridge behind our house was blown up.”

    Koropets and her children traveled first to Vasilkov, then to Lviv, cities that have also been subjected to bombing. Finally, in late March, they arrived at the Knights of Columbus Mercy Center in Hrebenne, a town at the Polish-Ukrainian border. There, boarding an Order-sponsored bus to Slovenia on March 22, Koropets experienced something she hadn’t felt in nearly a month.

    “Today, for the first time, we felt safe,” she said.

    Koropets and more than 80 other Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed to Slovenia thanks to the efforts of Tamino Petelinšek, a Slovenian photographer and a member of Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude Council 10292 in Rhein Main, Germany. Petelinšek, who has been documenting the Order’s humanitarian work in Poland and Ukraine, worked with the Knights of Columbus to arrange two buses from Hrebenne to his native country, where Caritas Slovenia is assisting the refugees with housing, schooling, medical care and jobs. The first bus arrived there March 22; a second arrived April 3.

    Refugees wave as their picture is taken during the journey to Slovenia. Photo by Tamino Petelinšek

    Petelinšek was inspired to organize the transportation by his work photographing refugees in Lviv and at the border. Seeing women and children desperate for a ride to safety, he worried they would be targeted by human traffickers.

    “There was a young family coming from the border, a young mother with three young kids, and they were exhausted, and it was late in the evening,” Petelinšek recalled. “A young and nicely dressed man crossed their path, offering them a kind face, and gave the kids some Toblerone Swiss chocolates, promising to take them to Switzerland. They trusted him and entered the car with no other security measure. According to press articles, many such stories end differently, violently.”

    Refugees embarking for the 17-hour drive to Slovenia from the Mercy Center in Hrebenne on March 22 were thankful for the welcome and assistance of the Knights of Columbus and other organizations.  

    “For me, this is also a second chance and an opportunity to start a new life,” said Marina Legkoduh, a refugee from Chernivtsi. “I am very grateful for this trip and for this opportunity.”

    Petelinšek believes the Order’s work for refugees and displaced people is in the spirit of its founder, Blessed Michael McGivney, who established the fraternal organization to protect the vulnerable.

    “Father McGivney helped families in need,” Petelinšek said. “And he has been acting for the refugees right now.”

    Supporting the Ukraine Solidarity Fund will provide temporary shelter, food, medical supplies, clothing, communications and religious supplies for those in need. These items will all be immediately distributed, and 100% of your gift will go directly to these displaced people. Donate here.

    To learn more about the Knights of Columbus, click here

    PRESS RESOURCES

    PRESS

    Logos & Emblems

    Photo Library

    Press Releases

    Recent News

    Supreme Convention

    Video Library

    PUBLICATIONS

    Chaplain's Report

    Columbia

    Fraternal Leader Advisory

    Knightline

    Knights in Action

    Share your Knights in Action News

    FOR PRESS INQUIRIES

    Please contact the
    Knights of Columbus News Bureau
    news@kofc.org, 475-255-0097

    Knights of Columbus 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510 203-752-4000

    Connect With #KOFC

    Who We Are

    Our Mission Our Faith Our History Supreme Officers About Membership Video Library

    What We Do

    Charity Insurance Invest Programs Scholarships Churchloan

    Get Involved

    Join Donate Find a Council Store College Councils

    Member Resources

    Sign In For Members Safe Environment Program Brand Assets Benefits
    This website uses cookies, including third-party cookies, to optimize the functionality of the website and for website analysis and statistics. To find out more about cookies and how to change your cookie settings, please go to our Cookie Policy. Click Allow if you agree to the use of cookies.