BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – There’s a party taking place on Sunday at the Lee County Fairgrounds and it’s all to benefit Ukrainians.
David Roth, the organizer of the event, said watching all the events of the war in Ukraine unfold, made him want to get involved. But it was posts on social media from a friend in Ukraine that shook him.
“Let me very blunt. I was sitting on my ass in my recliner watching my tv and wondered what can I do to help. Drove my wife crazy for about two weeks,” Roth said.
“But I have a Facebook friend from Ukraine and we collect vinyl records. He’s sent me stuff that’s very disturbing and sometimes I cannot even watch it. He fled to Poland with his granddaughter.”
Roth said that under the skin, we’re all brothers and sisters, and we’re put on earth, ultimately, to help each other.
“Where are those kids going to go? I get a little emotional sometimes over this. Sometimes I get a lump in my throat so big I can’t swallow it down.”
To help swallow the emotion, Roth started putting together an event that will take place Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. called “To Ukraine from Iowa with Love”.
It’s six hours of local musical talent, including locally renowned The Ozone Ramblers, Kirk Brandenberger, Brian Wagner, Joel Garretson, Chaz and The Channel Cats, Garret Hardy, Big Huge, Lee-Henry Line, and local favorite rockers Ghosts of Judas.
Roth said there will also be food vending from Rick and Janice Eckle, the Argyle Adult Sunday School will be on hand selling popcorn and bottled water, and the Lee County Fair Board has opened up the grandstands for the event and will be selling wine coolers and beer.
All proceeds from the event will go to Ukrainian refugees through a non-governmental organization called Global Ministries. Roth said he looked for the organization that most wholly supported refugees.
“They do it through a church in Hungary. And they can afford to give 100% of all proceeds to refugees because they have an endowment that pays for their administrative fees,” Roth said.
Roth said pulling together the talent and vendors for the event was more than simple.
“I didn’t even have to ask. These folks just came and asked if they could play at the event. I was going to have to rent porta potties, but the fair board opened the grandstands. Everyone has just been wonderful. My stepdaughter and her family are even here from Virginia to help,” Roth said.
“This is going to be a wonderful event and, if you come out and don’t have a good time, it’s your own damn fault.”
There’s no admission charge for the event but free will donations are being accepted. There will be several volunteers with buckets to collect donations on the property. Roth said one anonymous benefactor has already donated $500 to the event.