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By Tim Hunt

Putting a face on Ukraine

Uploaded: Mar 3, 2022

The war in Ukraine took on a human face for me this week.
I’ve been horrified by what I’ve seen and read, but it became personal. We live in a very old home and have had to replace the roof and plumbing by opening up walls. We were fortunate to find a quality general contractor who ran five different crews through here over a month. Last evening, their quality control person came by to pick up the final payment.
She’s Ukrainian and her mother lives there in a city northeast of Odessa. Her mom, aged in her late 50s, lives alone and her daughter did not believe she was capable of traveling by herself in winter weather. The city was not under Russian attack at this point. My contact has a sister with two children living in Israel, so she believes it is on her to get her mom out because she doesn’t want to endanger her sister. She’s single.
As we talked, she was unsure whether she’d fly into Poland or Moldova. She planned to rent a van and fortunately was going to be accompanied by a man with some military experience. She was trying to get a van so they could take out more people than her mother. Making it more challenging was her mom’s cell phone was broken.
Her concern was obvious as was her commitment to getting her mother out of there as soon as possible. I prayed God’s protection and wisdom for her as she took this necessary but challenging trip. It makes you wonder how many other Ukrainians living abroad are going back for the same reason.
Congrats to Livermore Realtor Mony Nop who posted on Facebook yesterday on the anniversary of the bold decision he made 10 years ago. He left a stable 17-year job as a Livermore police officer to hang out his shingle in the real estate business. I met him through our mutual interest in helping the turn-around of Marilyn Avenue School in Livermore in the early 2000s.
As Nop wrote in his post, the real estate market was challenging, to put it mildly in 2012. He’d been doing real estate part-time while continuing to serve on the police force and then decided to go full-time into real estate.
He wrote, “It turns out, fortunately, to be one of the best decisions of my life. It has been the most growing period of my life, personally and professionally…
“What an amazing journey and I thank many of you for believing in me, my crazy ideas and supporting me through this humbling life. My vision is clearer, to serve you and our community. Thank you and GOD is great!”

Nop ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2020 and has founded two non-profits. He shows his heart for the community with a Thanksgiving food giveaway annually.

He’s an American success story. He was born in a Cambodian labor camp and escaped with his family to Thailand and then the Philippines before they came to America and settled in Stockton when he was 10. According to the Weekly, he attended San Joaquin Delta Community College for two years and eventually graduated from St. Mary’s College while working as a police officer and being a single dad to two sons.