From Ukraine to Nashville: Family escapes war and helps raise funds for home country

Ukrainian family escapes from war
Posted at 8:47 PM, Apr 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 15:06:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's been a little over a month since war in Ukraine began. In the mind of Ellina Lesnik the details of February 24th have not faded.

"My husband woke me up at 4:30. He said wake up, don't panic, pack your bags, the war has begun," Lesnik said.

According to the United Nations more than four million people have fled Ukraine as a result of the war. A reality Lesnik is living through.

"Right now my friends are all around the world. One friend is in Switzerland, another friend in Germany, third friend is in Croatia, fourth friend is in Italy, fifth in Spain. And I'm in the U.S. and we all don't know when is going to be a time when we will go back," she said.

She and her three daughters are staying with friends in Brentwood. And while love and support have been plentiful, home is where the heart is.

"It's hard to smile. It's hard to go to the restaurant and eat nice food and talk to people and they are laughing and they have their own normal life that we had," Lesnik said.

Although she's safe, trauma reminds her of the on-going tragedies.

"The first day I heard some airplanes and the first thought was I need to hide," she said.

To help Ukraine, Lesnik and her husband had to make sacrifices.

"It was the hardest decision for me to say goodbye to him in Romania because I just realized I don't want to live without him," Lesnik said.

He's not fighting in the war because father's of three of more children aren't mandated too. But he's not far away helping deliver aid such as clothes food and medicine to Ukrainians.

And from Brentwood, Lesnik is helping her husband's efforts by sharing her story at churches and homes. She's raised about 50-thousand dollars so far.

If you would like to help you can contact Ellina via email at: You may also donate by sending money online at Mission Together or by sending a check to Eurasia Partners Network at 12472 Lake Underhill Road #242. Orlando FL 32828.