CALABASH, N.C. (WECT) – As war continues in Ukraine, two American families are grieving after losing loved ones in battle — but one family is holding on to the fact that their son will be remembered as a hero.
“People die every day,” said George Lucyszyn. “And it’s gone the next day — they’re forgotten. Luke’s not going to be forgotten and that’s the one thing that I think makes me feel good.”
Luke Lucyszyn, 31, was described as a kindhearted, hard-working man. His parents, George and Kathryn Lucyszyn, say he wore many hats as he worked in a variety of fields from construction to UPS driver. It was his CDL license that led him to Ukraine. He planned to help drive an 18-wheeler into the war-torn country to help deliver supplies to people in need.
However, after landing in Warsaw in April and making it across the borders into Ukraine, he realized there were no trucks for him to drive. It didn’t take long for him to find others also looking to help. Together, they went through a brief training to be a medic for the Ukrainian army.
“Every time I spoke with him, I said turn around and come home. He just said he can’t,” said the Lucyszyns. “He had to be with his friends. He said when they leave, he’ll leave.”
Shortly before his death, Luke told his mother how desperately he and his comrades needed supplies. Specifically, they need better protective gear like helmets and bulletproof vests. His mother had been researching what she could send him until she got a devastating call from the state department.
“It was four in the morning. Nobody calls you at four in the morning unless it’s bad news,” said Kathryn. “I screamed — and they said ‘but it’s not confirmed,’ so we waited and waited.”
Hours later, the state department followed up the call with an email confirming the news and giving directions on how to have his remains sent back home.
Lucyszyns are trying to come to terms with their loss after Luke was killed by Russian forces. He leaves behind two children — one, visiting the Lucyszyns this week.
“He has a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old and he was such a good dad,” said Kathryn. “I’ve put together a lot of pictures to show to make sure he knows his dad was a hero.”
What makes the news harder for the Lucyszyns is knowing other men died trying to save him, including a fellow American.
“It’s devastating, devastating. All I have is admiration,” said the Lucyszyns. “We even talked about, somehow, if we could reach out to that family to say — to give our condolences to them for his bravery…”
The Lucyszyns say two other men also died in the same incident. One was a man from Sweden and the other, a Canadian — all heroically sacrificing their own lives for another country in need.
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