Statesboro banker and resident, Ilona Fountain, was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, which was part of the former Soviet Union at the time, before immigrating to the United States in 1979. Ilona is a Mortgage Loan Officer at CORE Credit Union. She has been a member of the CORE CU team since 2010 and has lived in Bulloch County for more than 20 years.

Ilona is a proud American citizen but feels a connection to the people of Ukraine during this time.  In fact, one of her cousins has been missing for two weeks. He is 70, and his family left the country, but he refused to leave.

“I have many friends and family that are still in Ukraine. I feel an urgent need to help the Ukrainian people who are suffering there now,” said Ilona Fountain. “I am thrilled to partner with Pittman Park United Methodist Church to raise funds for humanitarian support of the people of Ukraine. Including the huge numbers of people that have become refugees due to the ongoing conflict being waged against their country.”

She reached out to the leadership at CORE CU and they have been tremendously supportive in allowing her to lead efforts with the CORE Team to raise funds from her co-workers. Ilona was so touched by their overwhelming support that she was encouraged to do more.

She began searching for a ways to help more when she discovered the local efforts by Pittman Park UMC in coordination with the United Methodist Church Global Ministries.

“I have discovered so many scams already. I reached out to one organization to contribute and the person who answered the phone spoke in a Russian accent,” said Ilona. “It is so wonderful to have a vetted local organization that is connected to a global mission like this so we can ensure the help gets where it is needed most.”

United Methodist congregations in Ukraine respond to the immediate needs of people in their local areas and help displaced people trying to reach safety. United Methodists of the Central and Southern European Central Conference welcome and provide for refugees entering Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary.

To help, drop your contribution off to Pittman Park United Methodist Church, 1102 Fair Road in Statesboro on Saturday, March 19, 2022, from 8 AM to 2 PM.

They ask that you make your check out to Global Ministries/UMCOR with “Advance #982450-Ukraine” written on the memo line and drop it off at the church on Saturday.

You can also give online or by phone by clicking here.

Ilona’s Journey to America

Ilona’s father was a chemist in Ukraine which was a part of the former Soviet Union at the time. He was a veteran of the Soviet Air Force. They came to the United States before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Ilona Fountain in her school uniform in Kiev, Ukraine Credit: Ilona Fountain

Her dad had books of pictures of Ukraine, and spoke of the beauty of the country there. He was pleased when the Soviet Union failed and Ukraine gained their independence, but by that time he had built a life in the United States and decided to remain here. Her father lost his life to COVID-19 in 2020.  

Fourteen members of their family came to the United States from 1979-1983 including two uncles and two grandmothers. All other members of their family remained in Ukraine. Her grandfathers are buried there. She still has cousins there.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...