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Walk for Ukraine in Millerton to step off Saturday, May 14

MILLERTON — In its latest endeavor to rally support for Ukraine, another fundraiser will be held in the village of Millerton to show its solidarity for the war-torn nation on Saturday, May 14. The Solidarity Walk for Ukraine will start at 9 a.m. at the head of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT) at the Main Street entrance.

Since the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine first made headlines, Harlem Valley residents have shows their support for the Ukrainian people, from posting signs of support at their homes to attending community events to raise awareness and funds.

In Millerton, Polish-born part-time Millerton residents André Wlodar and his wife Kim have been instrumental is organizing several major fundraisers to support for Ukraine, raising more than $300,000.

They are currently working with Garage Galleri owner Svend Lindbaek; the space is located at 2 Main St. and is now set up as a temporary fundraising headquarters.

Garage Galleri is located at the former Gilmor Glass Works and Lindbaek donated it to the Wlodars’ United with Ukraine, selling lawn signs, posters, T-shirts, stickers and tote bags there to raise funds for the nonprofit Sunflower of Peace to help victims of the war; the space hosts fundraisers for United with Ukraine; it also holds community coffee hours there to generate local support for the important cause.

Now hard at work promoting the Millerton Solidarity Walk for Ukraine, Wlodar credited Millerton acupuncturist Lisa Wood for coming up with the idea for the walkathon. Wood, on the other hand, was effusive in thanking Wlodar for making the walk possible.

The idea, Wlodar said, is to get as many participants as possible. Along with seniors and children, Wlodar has even invited dogs and “brave cats” to partake in this event.

Led by Charlie Kyle from The Music Cellar, there will be a brass band providing music, and T-shirts and lawn signs will be available for purchase.

Wlodar clarified the walk is “less of a fundraiser and more of a community event because we’re not asking for money,” for registration fees, adding if anyone wants to buy a T-shirt and donate money to support Ukraine, they’re welcome to do so.

After speeches are made, the community is invited to walk or bike as far as they’d like along the HVRT, whether it’s one mile or the 20.1 miles all the way to the Wassaic Metro-North Train Station in Amenia.

Transportation to Millerton will be provided to those looking to return to the starting point. Participants are encouraged to wear the Ukrainian national colors of yellow and blue and bring flowers and signs to make this a positive event.

“We just want people to come,” Wlodar said, adding with a laugh, “I’m hoping for a thousand people — I’m optimistic.”

Drawing inspiration from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s words, Wood said she read Nietzsche’s thoughts on the decline of society and how “there will come a point in the future when people will not know what’s real.”

Those words rang true, she said, after she spoke with a friend who didn’t believe that Ukraine is currently under attack by Russia.

Wood said Nietzsche also said “not knowing is a form of nihilism.

“We are not hopeless and to believe you’re hopeless is to succumb to nihilism. In fact, in just doing this little walk, it has been so beautiful how many people gave their advice and resources,” Wood said. “This walk, for me, is about knowing that the situation for humanity, the situation in Ukraine, the situation in my personal life is not hopeless, and I don’t have to sit around shrugging my shoulders saying ‘What can I do?’ I’m excited by how many people are willing to come together and make something happen.”

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