14-year-old Dmytro had a big, happy family that he loved to spend time with. On February 24, 2022 his household woke to the sights, sounds and vibrations of nearby explosions. The war had come to their home town of Hostomel, northwest of the capital city Kyiv.
The effects of the war were immediate: electricity, gas, water and telecommunications; all essential infrastructure in the city had been cut off and had suddenly disappeared in an instant. Dmytro’s mother, who used a wheelchair, could not go down to the basement to seek shelter and had to live on the main floor of their home, risking her safety. With that in mind, she and her son evacuated. They recall waiting for the bus, hiding from shelling, explosions and destruction all around them. The vivid sounds of tanks and the destruction of their community are etched in their memories.
As refugees abroad, Dmytro and his mother had found safety, though his father stayed behind. A brave man who truly cared for his country, he provided assistance to other refugees and distributed medicine and aid. Tragically, this selflessness ultimately led to his death: Russian forces captured him and tortured him – while he was providing aid to his fellow Ukrainians.
Dmytro believes his father is a true hero and will forever be present in the hearts of his family and those he helped before his death. Despite the horrors of war taking his father and his community from him, Dmytro dreams of victory for Ukraine and to one day return home to Hostomel.
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