Tuesday’s Trivia Night at Route 6 Café benefits Ukraine

From left, Andrew Iwashko, Kelli Rohrig and Kreston Rohrig behind the counter at Iwashko's new coffee concept, Mountain to Mountain Coffee Dispensary, in Dillon, CO, scheduled to open later this month. All proceeds, after costs are covered, will benefit Ukraine.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Special to the Daily

What does the yellow and blue mean on the Ukrainian flag? What year did the country appear in the World Cup and reach the quarterfinals?

While the questions at Tuesday’s Trivia Night at Route 6 Café and Lounge won’t predominantly be about Ukraine (but rather, about Vail and Beaver Creek history), the benefit will be all for Ukraine. Limbs for Liberty, a local nonprofit that provides free prosthetics to Ukrainians who have lost limbs during the war, is hosting the game night to remind people about the power of community.

Though it is a fundraiser (and a pretty darn good one, with two free drinks, appetizers and prizes), organizers are focusing more on creating community rather than asking for donations. The evening includes two separate trivia games, with a very brief presentation on Ukraine in between rounds.

“We are a community; the world is a community. We’re all connected, and this is a way for you to get connected,” said Limbs for Liberty cofounder Kelli Rohrig, explaining that people have tired of nonprofits asking for money. “Rather than money, let’s create a culture that recognizes when people need help and have more of a group-think on how to help.”

Limbs for Liberty and Ukrainians for Colorado saw strong support for Ukrainians when the war began, but now that’s starting to wane, as the shock, outrage and initial aid is wearing off, after nearly eight months, she said.

Support Local Journalism

“In February and March (when the war started), everyone, every time, would ask me about Ukraine,” said Andrew Iwashko, who grew up in Ukraine, moved to Colorado in 2011 and will be supplying coffee as one of the prizes during Trivia Night, adding that people don’t say as much to him these days. “I understand it’s hard for people to comment, but there really isn’t anything wrong to say. We don’t want to feel like the world has forgotten about it. I don’t smile as much as I used to. The cloud of the Ukraine war, it’s tough. It’s just good to feel the support of your community — just remind us ‘we’re thinking of you.’ You don’t have to extend the conversation … Putting your Ukrainian flag up has made a difference in (Ukrainians’) lives and in my life. This community cares, and those people need to continue to be thanked because their efforts go a long way.”

Ukrainians haven’t had the luxury of putting the war on the back burner of their minds; Iwashko’s cousin, who lives in Kyiv, steps outside only to see smoke plumes from drones dropping bombs.

“The war is still in full scale,” Iwashko said. “Nothing has died down except the shock of it.”

In fact, just as some Ukrainians in Kyiv began to return to some semblance of normality — for example, his relatives got back to their salon business in late summer and early fall — as of a couple weeks ago, they’re now facing electrical blackouts and water shutoffs.

“The Russians are switching methods, using drones and cruise missiles to attack the energy system, to bring the effects of war to every citizen,” he said. “The sense of normality has dwindled a little — that blanket of safety is a lot thinner than we want to tell ourselves. They want to bring the war to every citizen. They want to raise terror.”

Rohrig wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to read the latest from her contacts in Ukraine. Sunday, she read about 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war locked in a small room and thrown a couple loaves of bread to eat every two days. A surgeon she will meet when she flies back to Ukraine this Friday, talked about the number of elderly people without family and how it was doubtful they’ll survive.

That’s why Rohrig and her husband, Kreston, are traveling to Ukraine for about 10 days on their own dime (all the money they raise for Limbs of Liberty goes directly to Ukrainians receiving prosthetics). They’re delivering winter coats and base layers donated by the community to help Ukrainians living with power outages, which means no heat.

Limbs for Liberty has partnered with doctors in Florida and Minnesota to provide about 20 Ukrainians with prosthetics, and now the team plans to bring its first Ukrainian, Andrey Chersak, to Colorado by the end of the year. Chersak lost both his legs while defending his country; before the war, he was a fitness instructor, and he still has “an unstoppable desire to go,” he wrote in a message. He and his wife have a 2-year-old son.

While hearing details like this about the war’s horrendous causalities is heavy, Tuesday’s trivia games aim to be a light night out, focused on community. All of the prizes are either from Ukraine or Ukraine-focused, so exercise your brain a bit for a great cause.

If you go…

What: Trivia Night

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Route 6 Café and Lounge, 40801 Route 6, Avon

Tickets: $25, includes two free drinks (including a Kyiv mule) and appetizers

Benefits: Limbs for Liberty, a local nonprofit that helps Ukrainians who have lost limbs due to the war receive prosthetics

More info:

Support Local Journalism