Southwest Florida holds rally to support loved ones still in Ukraine

Reporter: Zach Oliveri, Justin Kase Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
ukraine rally
Ukraine rally in North Port credit: WINK News

People in Southwest Florida are showing support for loved ones and friends still in Ukraine. Many of those rallying on Friday night are living with the uncertainty of what’s next for their family members still living there.

There is a complex range of emotions setting over North Port right now, as Southwest Florida has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the U.S. Sadness for the families and friends still in Ukraine. But hopefulness that the rally at home shows that people are standing with them.

Explosions in the night sky and school buildings being destroyed by rockets and now the Russian forces pushing into Ukraine have become heartbreaking images for many of us. Russian troops are continuing to bear down Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

And Ukraine’s president predicts that the conflict will intensify. But for those from Ukraine, it’s a whole different level of pain.

Liedea Boyko says she feels like she’s reliving history. “It’s almost like deja vu after listening to my parents and the stories they told during the war. And running away and hiding, the bombs falling,” Boyko said. Her parents fled Ukraine in 1944.

Now, Boyko’s cousin is trying to do the same thing with an almost two-year-old child. “I’m shaking now just thinking about it,” said Boyko. “She was packing a suitcase, and she was getting ready to get to Poland to be with the in-laws. And I couldn’t communicate with her today at all.”

All she can do right now is pray as others watch their loved ones relive what their parents experienced.

Ihor Hron is from Ukraine. He served in the U.S Army during the Vietnam war. “I’m proud that I was born in Ukraine,” said Hron.

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