Wenzel: Local reverend leads fundraiser for Ukraine, MHS hockey coach receives honor

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MARLBOROUGH – The Rev. Dr. Kazimierz Bem, pastor of the First Church in Marlborough, Congregational, is spearheading a fundraiser to help Ukrainians in Poland who are refugees from the Russian war against their country.

A native of Poland, Kaz, before becoming a pastor, was a refugee lawyer. His family (still in Poland) were refugees during and after World War II, making the cause dear and very close to his heart.

Now there are over three million refugees in Poland, accounting for almost 10 percent of the country’s population. Over fifty percent of the refugees are children under the age of 15.

When the war began, Kaz hoped to raise $5,000 for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The total, though, is now more than $133,000.

First Church in Marlborough raised $8,000 for the cause, with another $4,000 from Facebook folks in Marlborough. In addition, 35 UCC colleagues in New England and one in Texas contributed to the total.

“I went to Poland and visited three congregations that are hosting refugees,” explained Kaz. “Most of them want to go home, but some know they won’t or can’t. I prayed with one woman whose son was killed fighting the Russians the day after she reached safety in Poland.”

The money will be used for programs including the following:

Rev. Dr. Kazimierz Bem is the pastor of the First Church in Marlborough, Congregational. (Photo/submitted)
  • Grants for a day center for Ukrainian refugees where they can learn, play and have access to psychological care
  • Setting up a kindergarten for Ukrainian refugee children while their mothers set up a seamstress shop and a food for delivery business
  • Stipends for teenagers to be able to attend school
  • Psychological and medical aid for refugees
  • Money to transform temporary church halls to a semblance of independent living
  • Summer programs for Ukrainian children

Early on, $20,000 was wired to Poland to fund a relief convoy to Ukraine, to support a women’s shelter hosted by the Lutheran and Reformed congregation in Cracow, and to help two small Reformed congregations that took in 30 refugees on emergency basis.

The rest of the $133,000 in donations were wired this week.

Another payment will be wired at the end of June.

If you want to contribute to the effort, you can send a check made out to First Church in Marlborough with a memo note “Ukraine Relief.” First Church is located at 37 High St. in Marlborough MA 01752.

THE ROTARY CLUB of Marlborough, 1922-2022, will celebrate its 100th with a Centennial Gala on Saturday, May 14, at the Best Western hotel.

Samantha Dalbec of Marlborough, left, and Sophia Fleming of Hudson, are two local gymnasts who have been collecting an amazing number of victories in area competition. The two 13-year-olds, are on the team at Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy in Millis. (Photo/submitted)

TWO LOCAL GYMNASTS have been collecting an amazing number of victories in area competitions.

The two 13-year-olds, Samantha Dalbec of Marlborough and Sophia Fleming of Hudson, are on the team at the Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy in Millis and practice 20 hours a week in the gym.

Recently, while competing at States at Shrewsbury High for USA Gymnastics, Junior Olympic level 7, they crushed it with Sophia landing a spot on the all-star team and going to regionals as the state champion in the beam event. She placed second all around for her age group. Samantha was state champion in the bars and floor events, state champion in the all around for her age group, and she earned a spot on the state team for regionals.

Only 41 gymnasts are on the all star team that go to regionals out of hundreds. Only seven represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the state team.

At the regionals, Samantha took first all around, first place in beam and bars events, third place in vault and fourth place in floor. Sophia took first place in bars and fourth place in the all around. Samantha’s Team Massachusetts, took second, losing to team New York by only .125 points.

Mike O’Brien, left, Marlborough High School boys hockey coach, has been awarded the 2021 – 2022 Coach of the Year award by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association. Congratulating Mike is Jeff Rudzinsky, the Athletic Director for Marlborough High School. (Photo/submitted)

MIKE O’BRIEN, Marlborough High School head boys hockey coach, has been awarded the 2021 – 2022 Coach of the Year award by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association. Mike led the top-ranked Marlborough boys hockey team to the MIAA Division III finals at the TD Garden in Boston earlier this year. The Panthers team came in second against Hanover with a score of 5-3.

THE COLONIAL GARDEN CLUB of Marlborough will offer hundreds of beautiful plants at the 27th Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the First Church in Marlborough, Congregational, 37 High St., at the corner of High and Bolton (Rte. 85) streets in Marlborough.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

April 18 – John Sahagian and Georgina Chamberlain

April 23 – Betsy Landers

April 24 – J.J. Lynch

May 3 – Rita Griffin

May 5 – Alyson Cox

May 13 – Dick Towle

May 14 – Pete Daniels

May 17 – Noa-Lee Bastien

May 18 – Regina Slattery and Eva Kotsopoulos

May 20 – Ed Beauchemin

May 22 – Dan Guindon

May 23 – Harold Greer

May 26 – Nate Dalbec

May 30 – Dottie O’Brien and Marlene King

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

May 14 – Trish and Tom Pope

May 14 – Brenda and Earl Geary

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