Ted Bechtold, a St. Joseph, Minn., native, moved to Ukraine in August 2021 to teach English.
A few weeks ago at the urging of the American Embassy, he left the country but has returned to the area to help welcome refugees arriving in Romania.
Bechtold said he has raised more than $12,000 to pay for his expenses while in Suceava — which include the rental car he has been using to provide transportation for Ukrainian refugees. He said he has also been communicating with his students and their families who are still in Ukraine, helping them purchase train and bus tickets and find temporary housing outside their home country.
“I’m just doing it on my cell phone,” he said. “Telling them, if you can get a train ticket, just buy it. Don’t worry about the money. I’ll pay for it. We’ll cover it, we’ll figure it out later. Don’t worry about it at all.”
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Bechtold said many Ukrainians are concerned about spending money because they haven’t been working over the last week and don’t expect to for some time.
Bechtold said he has his rental car for another three weeks but hopes to stay in the area helping in whatever way he can, for as long as he can. Right now, he said he’s taking it one day at a time and is hopeful he’ll be able to return to Kyiv to help the city he’s been calling home for the last six months.
Bechtold is accepting donations to support his efforts via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org or Venmo at @Ted-bechtold.
Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.