NAPLES, Fla. — It was a night of reflection and education at Lely Presbyterian Church in Naples, where congregants got a chance to sing, tell stories, and offer support for the people of Ukraine.
But for Bohdon and Marie Shandor, both first generation Americans from the Ukraine, those stories were personal.
“I never ever thought I would see a country invading another country in Europe with such brutality and such blatant disregard," says Bohdon.
He was invited to offer a brief history of the Ukraine, something that he says isn't easily understood.
The outpouring of support he's seen over the last few days have him feeling proud of his heritage.
“I’ve gotten texts and emails from people I went to high school with in Patterson New Jersey - Eastside High School - who reached out to me and said our prayers are with you," says Bohdon.
He adds that this conflict is a teachable moment, offering important lessons that should have all Southwest Floridians paying attention.
“It’s a good lesson for everyone to reflect upon what makes this country so special. And why we need to understand that freedom doesn’t come without a cost - and that’s what the Ukrainian people understand very well," he says.
But there are ways that the local community can help.
“You can write to your congressman, senators, to the white house," says Marie, his wife.
Emphasizing the urgency for Ukraine to get the support that it desperately needs.
“This is a matter of days. We don’t have months, we have days," says Marie.