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Family in Larkspur takes in Ukrainian woman, 22 years after hosting her as exchange student

Maryna Sheveria was an exchange student when she was 16 in Colorado. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the same family invited her, and now her family, back.

LARKSPUR, Colo. — At the entrance to a driveway in Larkspur, Colorado, an American flag is accompanied by a Ukrainian one. 

It's a show of support, and a welcome banner for Maryna and Sasha Sheveria. 

"Well the war started in our country in Ukraine and we left the country basically without any plan," said Maryna Sheveria, sitting next to her husband. 

RELATED: Woman trying to get family and other refugees from Ukraine to Colorado

Once they made it to Germany, the plan came to them in a Facebook message from Helen and Jim Kellogg. 

"We have this photo that was taken of Maryna Sheveria when we were hosting her as an exchange student 22 years ago," said Jim Kellogg, taking a photo of a young Maryna off their wall. 

Credit: KUSA

They also pulled out a collage that Maryna Sheveria made where she wrote "to be continued..."

"And none of us had any idea what that would mean," said Jim Kellogg. "We never in our wildest dreams thought or hoped it would be this situation but we're just happy that her and her family are safe." 

The entire family is at the Kellogg's Larkspur home, including all four of the Sheveria's kids.

"I mean people say to us, 'wow that's amazing', and we're going we don't think it's amazing, it's just what people should do," said Jim Kellogg. "It's basic human kindness." 

But Maryna Sheveria added that she thinks they are "heroes."

Credit: KUSA

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The family of 6 was able to get tourist visas through the help of the Kelloggs and some Colorado officials. 

But Maryna and Sasha Sheveria aren't allowed to work on a tourist visa, and if they put their kids in public school here it would jeopardize their status and future visas. 

"We are two grown up people who had their jobs, who have a family, we have four children, so of course we would like to to be able to work and to be able to support our family, and to be a less burden for our hosts," said Maryna Sheveria. 

Now that Temporary Protected Status is available for Ukrainians who arrived in the United States before April 11, Maryna Sheveria applied. But the processing time could be months.

Maryna Sheveria said it can be easy to lose hope in humanity after watching the horrors in Ukraine, but they haven't. 

“During all this period of time we’ve met so many kind people that help us with all different problems and with all different situations," she said. "So, I mean we do have hope in humanity and I think that’s great, that helps you to be confident right that there is some future." 

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