Concert will benefit group supporting Ukrainian family in Farmington

Trio Pacifico and Classy Brass will take stage Monday night

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, June 6 at the First Presbyterian Church, 865 N. Dustin Ave. in Farmington.
  • Tickets are $10 at the door.
  • Call 505-327-5231 for details.

FARMINGTON — The late Farmington resident Gordon Glass isn't around to witness the work of the support group that bears his name, but his friend Cynthia Rapp Sandu figures he would nevertheless approve of what is going on in his memory.

Glass, a 78-year-old retired family counselor, community activist and avid outdoors enthusiast, died on Jan. 22. To honor his legacy, several local residents who wanted to join a national network that supports Afghan and Ukrainian refugees have formed a group to look after one such immigrant family and have named it after him.

On Monday, June 6, the Showcase on Dustin music series continues with performances by a chamber music trio and a small brass ensemble. Proceeds raised from the concert will benefit the Gordon Glass Support Group, a team of more than a dozen local residents that is working to help ease the transition of a Ukrainian family that arrived in Farmington last week.

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Rapp Sandu is one of the founders of the group, along with Glass' widow Martia and the Rev. Rebecca Morgan, the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington. She said the group originally intended to play host to an Afghan family. But when Russia invaded Ukraine and precipitated a humanitarian crisis that caused thousands of residents of that country to flee the fighting, her group was offered the chance to assist a Ukrainian family instead and quickly accepted.

Gordon Glass

Rapp Sandu said she believes naming the group after Glass is a fitting way to honor a man who devoted his life to building communities.

"Gordon would have just loved that," she said. "He's not with us, but his spirit is."

The family — two adult sisters and a 10-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl who are the children of one of the women — arrived in Farmington on May 28 and settled into the furnished house the support group had rented for them. The husbands of both women remained behind in Ukraine to help with the war effort.

"They are just a fantastic family," Rapp Sandu said.

The specifics of aiding a Ukrainian family are considerably different from what the support group originally expected with an Afghan family, she said. For one thing, the family plans to return to their home country when it is safe for them to do so, unlike most Afghan refugees, who have been relocating permanently to the United States, Rapp Sandu said.

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The members of the Ukrainian family arrived here with little more than the clothes on their back after fleeing their home and making an extended stay in Spain while they awaited permission to come to America. But Rapp Sandu said from the moment she met the family, she has been impressed by how poised they are.

"I thought, 'Wow, this family is so remarkable,'" she said. "They were so confident, so positive."

The mother of the two children understands and speaks English well, Rapp Sandu said, while the other woman understands it but doesn't speak it as well. The children have some familiarity with English, she said, so they will not be starting from scratch when they start school.

Rapp Sandu said she and the rest of the circle still are trying to figure out how much support the family, which is in the U.S. under the terms of a two-year humanitarian parole program, will need. But she said both women have made it very clear they intend to work while they are here, and support themselves and the children if possible.

But until they get on their feet, the family's basic needs — rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation — are being met by others. Rapp Sandu said anyone who wishes to contribute to the family's well-being but can't attend the concert is free to drop off a check at the First Presbyterian Church office.

The Trio Pacifico and Classy Brass will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, June 6, at the First Presbyterian Church, 865 N. Dustin Ave. in Farmington. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 505-327-5231 for details.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription: