By: Alyssa Marsico

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – With unrest in Ukraine, we have covered the story from the angle from the President’s response to reporters’ view points, but today KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf brought KDKA listeners a new perspective to the activity there.

Michael Airgood, a missionary with the United Methodist Church based out of Western Pennsylvania, was sent there for a temporary assignment but decided to extend the trip for three years.

Bill asked Airgood what made him decide to stay there for as long as he has to be a part of the protests.

“I just love the people here, the people here have such a tremendous personality, such a tremendous shared history. I have had the great privilege of translating Ukrainian poetry into English. It has been just so interesting to learn more about the culture and where these people come from, what they have lived through and the hopes and dreams they have for their country,” said Airgood.

Large scale protest have been going on in Ukraine since November and Airgood has been right in the middle.

The students he works with have been actively involved in the protests being very involved and their freedom and independence as they fight for a better country.

Some of the students Airgood is involved with were even arrested during some of the more violent protests, but he tells KDKA that its something they all are experiencing together.

“We gathered very, very often, to pray, to talk, just to share what was going on and what was happening in our lives and in this country that we share,” Airgood said.

Airgood says he has spent so much time in Ukraine that he almost considers himself to be part Ukrainian and he has such a love and respect for the new country he is in and the people he is surrounded by.

“The young people here are so very intelligent and they have such a strong education and such wonderful dreams for this country. For me, it is really sad to see the stupendous level of corruption and bribery that has concerned politics in this country since the fall of the Soviet Union. And I certainly hope that this new generation who never lived under the dark days of the Soviet empire, I hope these young people are able to run with their country and achieve so, so much more then their parents were able to do in the last 20 some years,” said Airgood.

You can hear the whole interview here:

You can also listen to the KDKA Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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