The war is not over, Montana family says after a trip to Poland to work with Ukrainian refugees | ABC Fox Missoula

MISSOULA, MT- Whitney Williams the daughter of former Congressman Pat Williams and state Senator Carol Williams along with her niece Fiona Easton just returned to Montana from Poland where they were on a humanitarian trip to help Ukrainian refugees.

Easton is just 16 years old and said it was eye-opening.

“I met a few girls close to my age… [this makes me] appreciate everything I have each day and not take anything for granted,” Easton said.

Easton says it gave her a new perspective about the world, she’s made friends with refugees who up until several months ago lived a similar life to her, now they’ve been displaced by war.

“It’s a lot different than your friends posting on Instagram,” Easton said, “it becomes a lot more important and real to you [seeing it in person.]”

Williams works regularly with displaced people and refugees. Her company has offices in the Congo and says there is a disparity in the way certain refugee groups are treated.

“We were in a border town in Poland,” Williams said, “it was an incredible experience.”

She’s hopeful that the message that can be received is that all refugees across the globe in need of assistance regardless of European descent and skin color and communities should step up in the same way that they are currently standing up for Ukraine.

With that said she is proud of the way the world is responding to Ukrainian refugees and says support continues to roll in.

“People are still fleeing the country,” Williams said.

Easton highlighted that art is bringing people together, spending time in refugee camps you’ll see art hung on the wall made by children who miss home, and teenagers make bracelets in the Ukrainian flag colors that they gift away.

Easton now proudly wears one of those bracelets.

Williams says it’s important for western countries to know, that this is far from over.

“They’re still bombing, Putin is still doing everything Putin wants to do,” Williams said.

Williams who works professionally with refugees and displaced people says seeing it in person is shocking.

“All the men stayed behind to fight so it’s a stunning thing to visit this refugee center where we were and see all women, children, and some elderly people,” Williams said.

The point Williams is making, families have been badly broken because of this war.

As the work continues to help those displaced, Easton said she was proud to have been in Poland but she’s taking some of those lessons from this war back home to Montana.

“It makes me feel like Montana has much more privilege than I realized,” Easton said.

Williams says while they were in Poland they toured World War II sites in addition to working with Ukrainian refugees and for her, it’s a reminder to why democracy domestically is worth fighting for.

Williams also pointed out the work Pearl Jam is doing to support the recovery effort, thanking Jeff Ament for his and the bands work in recovery and aid efforts.


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