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Coloradan returns from helping people in Ukraine

Taras Overchuk moved to the United States from Ukraine about 10 years ago.

LONE TREE, Colo. — It has been nearly a month since Russia invaded Ukraine. The United Nations reports 10 million people have left the country, but one Coloradan has returned. Taras Overchuk has lived in Colorado for years but was born in Ukraine.

On Friday, he returned from spending two weeks in his home country. 

"Nobody knew what was going to happen next. Nobody knew if it was going to be like – like what part of the city was going to be on the Ukrainian control and which was not going to be there anymore," he said. "All my feelings were like pushing me to go to see it myself." 

Overchuk flew to Poland. He bought a car and headed to the Ukrainian border. What he didn't expect were all of the people still waiting to get out. 

"It's kind of hard to remember," he said as he chocked back tears. "I think it was like several thousands and we didn't have like a lot of tents or something to actually warm up, so yea, it was heartbreaking." 

The next two weeks that followed, Overchuk spent behind the wheel traveling throughout the country. He moved family members to safer places and took in Ukraine's new reality of barricades and devastation.

"When you enter and see it, it just kind of gets inside of you, ya know?" he said as he cried. "You kind of feel it – not just understand it." 

With the help of dozens of donors, Overchuk bought three cars for the Ukrainian military.  

Now that Overchuk is back in the United States, he's hoping to continue to help those back in his home country. He is creating an aid fund for Ukraine to help support the military with supplies they may need. 

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