Yesterday on April 5, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson announced that the franchise will be donating $1 million in Ukrainian relief.
According to the press release: “The donation will be split between various organizations, each receiving $100,000, over the course of a year. The first organization to receive a donation is Plast Scouting – USA.” The Jets have also pledged to match any and all staff donations of medical supplies, in addition to the financial support.
“These donations will positively impact Ukrainian refugees and their families with essential supplies,” voiced Johnson. “The need for resources is continuously growing. Our thoughts continue to be with the innocent lives who have been affected and all those who are suffering.”
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Personal Connection to Ukraine
Johnson’s wife, Suzanne, has a personal connection to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The press release explained that she “grew up in a Ukrainian neighborhood in New York and is from a family of immigrants.”
“Today in Ukraine, many people are suffering,” Suzanne Johnson stated. “Because of this, it is important to us to provide assistance to organizations making a true difference on the ground. My family and I are heartbroken by the devastation and loss and are praying for the individuals who have become refugees and those still living and working in Ukraine.”
She also tweeted that “this is so close to home for me and my family!” Adding: “So glad we can make a difference!!”
During a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Suzanne Johnson expressed her sadness in more detail. “My mother passed away 10 years ago and my father two years ago, and he must be turning in his grave right now,” transcribed AP’s Dennis Waszak Jr. “This would’ve killed him. It’s just incredulous and it’s really the only word I can think of for what’s happening today… I wanted to do my part in helping and to bring awareness because this is a problem that’s not going to go away.”
According to the Jets website: “Her mother, Marie, was born to Ukrainian immigrant parents while her father, Stefan Ircha, is from Ternopil, a town outside of Kyiv, and immigrated to the United States after WWII at age 21 by himself.”
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More on the First Donation
Andrew Kozak, Chairman Plast Scouting – USA, was appreciative of the relief money: “Plast Scouting – USA is very grateful to the Jets organization for their generous donation. The funds will be put to immediate use in the purchase of critical medical supplies to treat the many heavily wounded Ukrainians, along with cutting-edge medical technology such as portable, wireless ultrasound equipment.”
According to the Plast USA homepage, their organization’s mission statement is to nurture “personable and principled citizens who would be ready to effectively serve their country as useful citizens and leaders.”
“The foundations of Plast, outlined by its founder Dr. Oleksander Tysovskyj and expanded during Plast’s early development, are built on a Christian worldview and the idea of loyalty to the Ukrainian nation and its ideal of nationhood,” it read.
The Plast organization is divided into 4 branches: Cub scouts (younger boys and girls), yunatsvo or Scouts (age 11-17), Rover scouts (age 18-34), and Senior scouts (age 35 and up).
Plast Scouting – USA is the only donation that has been confirmed at this time.