A DeWitt family sponsors Ukrainian refugees

When news of Russia invading Ukraine broke, Paula and Ryan Purcell knew their family had to help in some way.
Published: Jul. 23, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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DEWITT, Iowa (KWQC) - When news of Russia invading Ukraine broke, Paula and Ryan Purcell knew their family had to help in some way.

“I cannot imagine ever having to flee my home in fear. Immediately our hearts went out to [the Ukrainian people],” Paula Purcell said.

The Purcell family worked to become a family sponsor through Uniting For Ukraine, a program that provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members to come to the United States on a two-year period of parole. They were paired with Misha and Hanna Krainik, and their 8-year-old son, Mark.

“We decided this is the best possible way for us to help is to open up our home to a family who lost theirs,” Purcell said. “We had a video call with them, and immediately we hit it off with them. It took a couple of months for them to get their travel authorizations, and for our final approvals to come through.”

Misha Krainik said he still remembers when the Russian invasion first started.

“They started to first attack airports, infrastructure, and factories,” Krainik said. “We received on our cellphones messages from our government about Russia starting to attack the Ukrainian capital. We only got warm clothes because we didn’t know where we would go, when would we leave, or where we would stay,” Krainik said. “We were ready to stay in the forest because we didn’t know where we should go.”

The Krainik family arrived on July 14, and the transition has been smooth so far.

“When you are thinking of Mark having to be forced to grow up, or forced to live through and leave toys and stuff he loves behind, your heart sinks,” said Ryan Purcell. “You get goosebumps when you think about your kids going through something like that. We’re blessed to have the things we have in America. We don’t feel like we are sponsoring a family, we feel like we’ve added to our family.”

As a sponsor, the Purcell family is providing the Krainiks with financial support during the duration of their stay. To learn how you can help, and hear more about the Krainiks’ story, click or tap here.

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