Pride for the blue and yellow

Dmitry Feld gives a thumbs up in March 2022 when village crews were installing Ukrainian flags along Main Street, Lake Placid. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

In Lake Placid, the school colors of blue and gold have been a great source of pride for more than 90 years. And as the blue-and-yellow flags of Ukraine were being installed on Main Street light poles in March, pride in this color combination took on new meaning for residents and visitors of New York’s Olympic village.

Like the rest of America — and most of the world — we were outraged when Russia invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine on Feb. 24. And we continue to be outraged by the senseless and ruthless violence against civilians and the countless acts of atrocities — in places like Bucha — where war crimes have allegedly been committed.

Throughout the conflict, we’ve been impressed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — a 44-year-old actor turned politician who has rallied his residents and people around the world in a style similar to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II, when the United Kingdom faced an expected invasion from Nazi Germany.

We’ve also been impressed with Lake Placid’s Dmitry Feld, who has worked tirelessly this year with many residents and businesses around the region to raise money to buy supplies needed for Ukrainian residents and soldiers. Feld grew up in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv and moved to the United States in the late 1970s. Now he’s the marketing manager for USA Luge. As the president of the Shipman Youth Center board and co-organizer of the annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival, he’s a dedicated volunteer. He’s a force of nature; he gets things done, mainly because he’s so hard working and lovable. We call him Ukraine’s unofficial ambassador of the Adirondacks.

We always see Feld with thumbs up and a huge smile. His positive attitude is infectious. But it must be difficult, for a person so positive, to carry around so much sadness and grief for the people of his home country. We’re inspired by Feld, who takes that sadness — and anger against Vladimir Putin — and uses it as fuel to help others.

Both Feld and Zelenskyy have worked hard to remind Americans that the fight against Russia is not over, and that Ukraine continues to need assistance — for its military and civilians. While 2022 was tragic, 2023 could be even worse — if support from the world wanes because people are growing tired or bored of the conflict.

Both Feld and Zelenskyy are waging their own propaganda campaigns to make sure Americans — especially American politicians in Washington — continue their support as the war drags on. Lives are at stake. Freedom is at stake, not just in Ukraine, but around the world — if aggressive regimes such as Putin’s Russia are allowed to take over sovereign countries unchecked. We — and other allies — could be next.

We’re proud to have Dmitry Feld and other Ukrainians in our community, and we’re glad to help. As 2023 begins, we ask our readers to keep an eye on what’s happening in Europe and keep sending support to Ukraine. Anyone interested in helping Feld with relief for Ukraine can contact him at 518-637-1593 or by email at dmitry@usaluge.org.

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