Jacksonville family waits to hear from loved ones in Ukraine

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – In the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Eastern Carolinians with family in Ukraine are worried about their loved ones’ situations.

Lisa Heavilin was in mom-mode as she sat with her three-year-old daughter Reagan outside the United Way of Onslow County. Heavilin has family in Odessa, a port city in Ukraine where civilians have been killed due to Russian blasts.

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“It was pretty sad to see that there were explosions in Odessa,” Heavilin said.

Heavilin’s grandparents fled from Ukraine to the U.S. many years ago after escaping from a Soviet work camp during World War II.

WIth emotional scars in the family tree, Heavilin worries for her dad, who is trying to be there for other family members in a difficult time.

“It’s terrifying, honestly. I’m sure it’s terrifying for anyone that has family there right now. I know a lot of our family’s elderly, so it’s very hard for them to get out right now,” Heavilin said.

For retired Marine M. Kenyatta Euring Sr., the attacks bring complex emotions as he thinks about what happened in Afghanistan last year when the U.S. withdrew troops.

Euring wonders what the U.S. will do with Ukraine, as President Biden announced that NATO will convene a summit on Friday to “map out the next steps.”

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“The question becomes, what level of involvement do we need to implement, in order to, one, stand by the principles we’ve always stood by, but also not get ourselves involved in something that could turn into something displeasing to the American people?” Euring said.

The retired Marine elaborated, saying:

As of Thursday evening, Heavilin has not heard from family members.

“We’re hoping that we’ll hear from my uncle, that we’ll have good news,” Heavilin said. “We just need the support of everyone to get through this.”

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