Broken Jaw is His Welcome to Delaware

REHOBOTH BEACH, US -- When he complained about his overcrowded living conditions, Volodymyr Khomenko got his jaw broken. His friends told police he fell down. "I messed with the wrong guys," he said.

Ukrainian Volodymyr Khomenko

Khomenko, known as "Volvo" to his friends, is spending his second summer working in Rehoboth Beach.

Despite the wires in his mouth, inserted by doctors to hold his jaw together, he wants to return next year.

The 20-year-old from Ukraine plans to use the money he earns to finance his college education when he returns to Kiev. He hopes to study hotel management.

When he first arrived, Khomenko was living with 21 people in a small house far removed from the beach. There were five people assigned to his bedroom. He slept on the floor.

"I didn't want to live there," he said. "But I didn't have a choice."

He decided to move out a week later, even though he'd paid through the month.

He asked for a refund June 13, and that's when he "fell down."

Unable to speak, in incredible pain, Khomenko couldn't tell police or ambulance personnel what had happened.

His jaw was wired shut at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes. The doctor told him to come back in six weeks so the wires could be removed.

But with the wires, Khomenko couldn't work.

"I ran out of money," he said. "I had to eat, so I had to cut the wires."

Using nail clippers and a hand mirror, Khomenko cut his jaw loose after just three weeks.

The wires are still visible in his mouth, sticking out from below his teeth.

Khomenko makes $9 per hour as a line cook at The Cultured Pearl, an upscale Rehoboth restaurant -- a high wage by summer student standards. He likes his boss, he said. She treats him well.

Khomenko spends his free time at an Internet cafe, hanging out with other students from Russia and its former republics who work the summer tourist season in places like Rehoboth and Ocean City, Md.

Brian Holochwost, the manager of Ruby Tuesday on Del. 1, hired five summer students as an experiment.

By all accounts, he said, it was a success.

"They're really good kids," Holochwost said. "I just feel sorry for their situations."

Source: DelawareOnline


Anonymous said…
The person who hit him should be arrested. After he is convicted, "Volvo" should take him to civil court for financial redress. Isn't there someone in the local Russian/Ukrainian community who can help him out?