NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Tampa Bay area business owner opened his doors to Ukrainian refugees

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Posted at 10:50 PM, Apr 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 05:57:48-04

VENICE, Fla — A Tampa Bay area business owner has opened his doors to Ukrainian refugees and he's encouraging others to help in any way they can.

“It was like third or fourth day of the war and Mathew said mom, I don’t think it’s a good idea to stay here because every time, every second there is bombing.” Valeriia Skorobohaca said.

Skorobohaca said she had to explain to her kids they had to leave.

“I'm losing everything... I’m almost 36 years old and I’m a single mom and that’s why it’s a difficult decision for me to leave everything in that country that has done everything for me," Skorobohaca added.

The damage left behind stays in the memory of the children wondering why they can’t go back home.

“She had her favorite dinosaur. A T-Rex. She says, oh, where is my T-Rex? We left it at home. Let’s go back home. I’d like to play with my T-Rex. And it was kind of a very unusual thing to say oh you know it's not going to happen. We’re not going to come back home anymore," Vitalii Kostenko said.

With a young daughter and a pregnant wife, Vitalii Kostenko said he’s counting on time to help the healing process, but with the help of others, he’s focused on what happens next.

“We are looking for medical providers, medical doctors, dentists, who can step up and help with these couple dozen people if they need to go see a dentist so they could get some kind of assistance on a charity level because they’re not qualified for any kind of government assistance," Vladimir Durshpek, CEO of D-TRANS LLC, said.

Durshpek owns a business in Venice. He told ABC Action News that he dedicated a storage area filled with essentials for dozens of refugees he’s working to help.

“I would say the biggest challenge is, these people are legally here. They are, according to the law, they are authorized to get jobs. But, they need their social security and have permission to start.”

There's a long road ahead but Durshpek is hoping others will join him in his fight to help Ukrainian refugees get back on their feet. He said anyone looking for ways to help they can email his business.