Igor Kalarash, born in Russia in 1990, spoke to the Stryker Rotary at their regular meeting. Igor, who just finished driving school, was accompanied by his United States mom Sharon Blinzler. When Igor was just one and one-half years of age his grandfather, who was also his father, arranged to sell him on the black market. His grandfather was involved with organized crime and the boy’s sale would have resulted in his death; as the buyers were interested in selling body parts. Igor was saved by his biological mother, but she lost her life in the process. Her fate ended up the same as was intended for her son. He was raised by his grandmother; living on the street and begging for food. He remembers begging from 4AM until 10PM on many days, and did not always receive enough to keep fed.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Full content protected for online subscribers. Purchase a one week subscription from the top menu bar for just $1.99 to read all online content (full access). Longer subscription plans are also available. Subscriptions cover our costs to attend local events; bringing forth Hometown News Coverage to our communities.”] At age twelve Igor set out by himself for the capitol city to see if things would be better for him. The city was much less safe and he had to be vigilant to avoid capture by the authorities who would have sent him to a state run orphanage. He had been taught that there was a God and he was good. He had also been taught that Satin was bad. One day he had a feeling that he should go into an unknown area of the city and was given directions to go to a soup kitchen. He believes this feeling came from God. He found the soup kitchen and discovered that it was run by two American women. These women helped him to be taken in by the “Ark Orphanage”. He was the first child to be taken in by the orphanage, but before he left the number of children had grown to twenty. While at the orphanage people from American came to visit and in 2006 he received a letter that they wanted him to come to America to live with them. He made the trip to America in 2008, but by this time he was eighteen years old. At eighteen years of age he is not longer able to be adopted so he came to America on a student visa. Igor finished his high school education and is currently enrolled in the police academy at Northwest State Community College. He and his American family are working to find a way for Igor to receive his citizenship. Igor spoke as a guest of Stryker Rotary President Ruth Wieland.
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