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Owensboro Sister Cities and Regions Announces Firefighter Exchange Program with Olomouc, Czech Republic


Date: April 19, 2024 – For immediate release


The Owensboro Sister Cities and Regions Board (OSCAR) is proud to announce a groundbreaking Firefighter Exchange program with its Sister City of Olomouc, Czech Republic. This initiative marks a significant milestone in the 30-year history of friendship and collaboration between Owensboro and Olomouc.

A delegation comprising 10 representatives from the Owensboro Fire Department, Daviess County Fire Department, Airport Sorgho Fire Department, and the Fire Academy of Kentucky will embark on a transformative journey to Olomouc from April 22 to April 28. Organized by Katherine Zbořil, OSCAR Board Member, the delegation aims to foster international cooperation and enhance firefighting capabilities through shared learning and training experiences.

“Our main goal for this exchange is to help save lives,” remarked Katherine. “By opening our minds to new operations and techniques, we can broaden our tools in the use for saving lives. If even one life is saved from something we learn in Olomouc, that would be a priceless measure of success.”

During their stay in Olomouc, the delegation will engage in a series of activities aimed at deepening their understanding of firefighting practices and procedures in the Czech Republic. Highlights include immersive tours of fire departments in Olomouc, collaborative planning meetings for future training programs, and participation in cultural activities in Olomouc and Prague.

“This exchange exemplifies the power of international partnerships in advancing public safety and strengthening community ties,” said City Manager Nate Pagan. “We are thrilled to facilitate this meaningful exchange and look forward to the positive impact it will have on both the Owensboro and Olomouc communities.

Contact: Adrienne Carrico at or 270-687-8561



Date: August 1, 2023 – For immediate release


Owensboro Sister Cities and Regions, Inc. (OSCAR) has won the 2023 Sister Cities International Award for Innovation in Youth and Education and Innovation in Humanitarian Assistance. The national event highlights the achievements of sister cities across the nation and provides international recognition for each community’s contributions within the citizen diplomacy movement. Sister Cities International established the Annual Awards Program in 1962 to recognize outstanding sister city programs. This year’s winners were announced at the Sister Cities International Conference, which was held on July 28th in Durham, North Carolina. 

The Innovation in Youth and Education Award was given in recognition of the efforts by OSCAR in hosting two impactful youth exchanges in 2022 – The  Gymnasium Olomouc – Hejčín High School Students Exchange and the Czech Republic Campanella Children’s Choir Exchange, who considered Owensboro, KY to be a highlight of their international visit to the U.S.

The Innovation in Humanitarian Assistance Award was given in recognition of OSCAR’s efforts in establishing a relief fund to aid Ukrainian refugees in Olomouc who had been forced to flee their homes to escape the violence in their country. Our sister city Olomouc in the Czech Republic worked closely with its partner city of Chernivtsi, Ukraine to provide humanitarian aid to the 50,000 Ukrainians who sought shelter at the refugee camp established at Chernivtsi University. Olomouc provided shelter to over 5,000 refugees, many of which were women with small children. Most of the Ukrainian refugees in Olomouc lost everything and many of them were seeking a permanent VISA to allow them to reside in Olomouc indefinitely. With the help of our community, OSCAR was able to raise $24,007.26 to provide much-needed assistance to those displaced by the crisis in Ukraine. Funds were donated to the Faculty Primary School Komenium and Kindergarten in Olomouc, and were used for the purpose of providing education to Ukrainian refugees, including education and activities as well as school materials and equipment.

When learning of the judging results, and that Owensboro was one of only 12 cities in the U.S. to earn international recognition at the event and one of only two cities in the U.S. to be awarded in more than one category, Michael Vanover, President of OSCAR, was very clear… “I’m blessed to be working along-side such devoted citizenry, and the city of Owensboro has much to be thankful for.”

Contact: Adrienne Carrico at or 270-687-8561