A man from Redmond who was in Ukraine when Russia attacked earlier this year is going back to help, along with his Ukrainian wife.
Connor and Ira Steeves are going back to check on Ira’s family, help distribute food and help students who are trying to escape the war-torn country.
Connor was in Ukraine teaching English at a university when Russia attacked. He escaped to a part of the country that wasn’t under immediate threat and starting work with a nonprofit organization to provide food and supplies to besieged towns.
That’s where he met Ira.
“We were very busy all the time but eventually I knew I wanted to ask her out on a date. I didn’t care that everything was crazy. We were going all over the place, helping people at the border, people at refugee homes,” Connor says.
“I thought he was very brave. At that moment, all men were trying to leave country and they were paying lots of money to leave country. It’s not really legal to leave country you are a man 18-60 years old,” Ira says.
Connor and Ira came back to the U.S. where they got married and have lived for the past eight months. But knowing how bad conditions are in Ukraine, they’ve decided to go back in January, check on Ira’s family and help any way they can.
“Missiles are striking all over the place,” Connor says. “Infrastructure is being destroyed. Russia is trying to deteriorate Ukraine, destroy their morale.”
“If look on Ukrainian news, can see scary lots of scary pictures. Citizens are dying. Not only military but kids and women,” Ira says.
The Steeves have started a GoFundMe account to help raise funds to buy food and supplies they intend to distribute in Ukraine.
Connor plans to continue teaching English to Ukrainians who are thinking about leaving the country. Connor says English is an international language and being somewhat fluent will help Ukrainian refugees wherever they seek shelter.