Lakeland woman stays in Ukraine to volunteer at hospital

Ukraine flag hanging
Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 05:20:44-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — John McColley video chats with his wife in Ukraine daily. She decided to stay in the country to volunteer.

“There’s fear everywhere.“

Fear as Russia continues its invasion. He and Tetyana will celebrate their 20th anniversary in July.

ABC Action News is not showing her face because John is worried she could face repercussions from the Russians.

She’s been back in her home country since before the invasion to make sure her daughter, granddaughter, and other family members would be okay.

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“She wanted to be there and bring some American money to assist in their escaping if they needed to.”

Eventually, they did leave. But Tetyana, a retired doctor, is volunteering at a hospital.

“She feels it’s her duty to be there while she can. Now if it becomes too difficult she too will try to find some way out.”

John, a Vietnam veteran, and Tetyana have a second home in Ukraine and travel there often. Now he flies the Ukrainian flag at his home in Polk County, he worries how this war will end, and for his wife’s safety.

He said the Ukrainian people are confident and morale is high.

“They are determined that they will fight to the last person. They don’t intend to give up. They do not intend to go back to being slaves of Russia again. Which is essentially what they were. They were essentially Russian slaves.”

There’s not much John can do now except wait for Tetayana to come home.

“I’d like to have her back here yesterday. But that’s up to her. I’m proud of her. I think she’s doing what she needs to do. If I were her I would do the same.”