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Tenn. Guardsmen visit Ukrainian special-needs orphanage

By 1st Lt. Kealy Moriarty | 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee Army National Guard | March 6, 2019

KRAKOVETS, Ukraine – U.S. troops, along with Lithuanian soldiers, visited an orphanage for children with special needs Monday as part of an ongoing humanitarian support project and celebrated International Women’s Day.

The visit included performances from the children, gift exchanges, outdoor games, and a traditional Ukrainian lunch.

“It is always nice of you to visit and spend some time with you guys because spending time with our American family is always a precious time,” said the orphanage director, Natalia Frankiv.

The Soldiers and children interacted through outdoor games such as tug-o-war, relay races, and soccer.

Later, they toured the orphanage's newly renovated agricultural program, which is an ongoing charity, funded project. Frankiv plans to incorporate a program which teaches the children the basics of farming and agriculture. This program is intended to prepare children for future job opportunities.

After the tour, Tennessee Guard member Maj. Terry Bell thanked Frankiv and highlighted the importance of International Women’s Day and the tremendous accomplishments of women in everyday life.

“Whatever it is you are doing, whether it be leading in the workforce or leading at home with your families, we love you and appreciate everything you do,” Bell said.

This is the first time Lithuanian soldiers, who are deployed in Ukraine, joined in visiting this orphanage, and they plan to return later this month to view the progress of the agricultural program.

The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, a unit of the Tennessee Army National Guard, is deployed in Ukraine supporting the development and modernization of the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.