|Volume 10, No. 2||FALL 2007|
Message from the Executive Director
|Bosnian farmer Marko Oljaca hosts IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou on his farm in 2006. Like many Bosnian farmers, Olajaca lost all his farm machinery during the war. IOCC supplied Oljaca with a hay baler, wheat seeds and fertilizer as part of a program to help farmers recover their businesses. IOCC Bosnia-Herzegovina|
I began my career with IOCC more than 14 years ago during the Bosnian War delivering food and emergency supplies to families displaced by the conflict. As we were stopped at countless military checkpoints, it seemed the only important thing was to get help to the people depending on us. However, I wanted to give them something that was “far more potent than the commodity itself,” in the words of his Grace, Bishop IRINEJ (Dobrijevic), a former IOCC colleague from those Bosnia days. I wanted to give them a feeling of solidarity and hope. I wanted to let them know that these supplies were given by all the Orthodox Christians in North America. I wanted them to know that they were not alone.
We celebrate our 15th anniversary year knowing that IOCC has gone out to more than 33 countries on four continents with emergency and long term development programs. I feel immense gratitude to our volunteers, such as the Circle of Serbian Sisters who helped us get needed supplies to the people of Bosnia, the college students who spent their spring break building houses on the Gulf Coast and the Metropolitan Committees who organize IOCC fundraisers throughout the U.S. Our volunteers have not only inspired the people they help but also have inspired others to serve as well. We are proud to dedicate this issue of News & Needs to them.
Our cover story begins in Bosnia and assesses all that IOCC has accomplished with an investment of millions of dollars in that country’s infrastructure. You will read about the stunning success of our Gifts-In-Kind (GIK) $19 million program that sends medical supplies, school kits, books and other items to people on three continents. Our U.S. Government funded program helped to rebuild war-torn southern Lebanon by aiding 3,300 families in 65 communities. You’ll also read about the “Volunteer in the Gulf Coast” program that brought together 200 IOCC volunteers to build new homes in Louisiana and Mississippi. Finally, a very special interview with three Orthodox clergy, part of the IOCC Emergency Response Network, who volunteered their time to provide trauma and grief counseling to the students of Virginia Tech last April. Read how volunteers worked alongside our IOCC staff to make the critical difference. Again, we thank you for your voluntary support of IOCC.
Yours In Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO