Morris County Reaffirms Solidarity with Ukraine
Published on February 24, 2023
A Community Reunites One Year After the Russian Invasion
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners is reaffirming Morris County’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine at a memorial service tonight at Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation.
Commissioner Director John Krickus will present a framed proclamation cementing Morris County’s commitment to the Ukrainian people and denouncing Vladimir Putin’s ruthless assault on Ukraine. Over the past 12 months, the larger Morris County community has embraced the Ukrainian cause and delivered aid to the European nation.
“Let me announce for the first time Morris County’s donation of 100 radios to Ukraine last summer. We did not announce it then out of an abundance of caution for those receiving the equipment. Morris County has also provided 100 protective vests and helmets from the Sheriff and Prosecutor’s Office, with additional donations from local police departments, along with surplus medical supplies from Morris County. I want to thank everyone in Morris County government who facilitated these donations,” remarked Director Krickus leading up to the event.
Director Krickus will offer some remarks on behalf of the board at the memorial, acknowledging and thanking the Morris County community for coming together to support Ukraine, a nation in turmoil. Supplies and aid from Morris County and its residents have been delivered through the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey (UACCNJ), which is located on the same grounds of Saint John Church at 60 N. Jefferson Road.
The UACCNJ estimates that the aid moved through its center amounted to 18 shipping containers valued at over $4 million.
“The support we have received from Morris County and the Commissioners is nothing short of overwhelming. People have opened up their hearts and souls to our community and our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and it means the world to us. Evil will not prevail. We need continued prayers and support,” stated UACCNJ Board Member Michael Halibej, who is also manager of the Cultural Center’s Social Club.
Morris County, with an estimated 12,000 residents of Ukrainian descent, has maintained a unique kinship with Ukraine dating back more than a century, when immigrants first arrived in the Whippany and Malapardis sections of Hanover Township in 1908.
They found hope for a new life and employment in the many mills that once drove the regional economy. It was in Whippany that Ukrainian immigrants built the original Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church on a corner of what is now Route 10 and Jefferson Road, establishing a community that continues to significantly contribute to our wonderful way of life in Morris County and throughout the United States.
“As a veteran, I served, as millions of others did, to protect our democracy, and now the people and armed forces of Ukraine fight for these same values. Their fight is our fight, and when you are fighting for freedom you fight harder,” stated Director Krickus.
With this awful war entering its second year, inflicting irreversible damage on a nation and its people that will have lasting impacts on generations to come, the memorial will include prayers that the carnage will all end soon for our sisters and brothers in Ukraine.
Anyone interested in donating funds, goods or medical supplies is encouraged to please reach out to Myron Bytz, community leader with the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey at https://uaccnj.org. He can also be reached by phone at 973-585-7175 or email: [email protected].
Photo 1: (l-r) Morris County Commissioners Tom Mastrangelo, Doug Cabana, Deputy Director Christine Myers, Director John Krickus, Commissioners Deborah Smith, Stephen Shaw.
Photo 2: (l-r) UACCNJ Board Member Michael Halibej, Community Leader Myron Bytz, Director John Krickus, Communications Division Manager Keith Heimburg of Morris County Office of Emergency Management, Father Stefan Bilyk.
Photo 3: Director John Krickus, Father Stefan Bilyk, Community Leader Myron Bytz.