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A Turning Point: Parma family continues war relief efforts, delivering donations from Northeast Ohio to Ukraine

The Koval family calls the charity work an obligation to the country they love so dearly.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the last 13 months, life for the Koval family from Parma has looked a lot different.

"It's just crazy to think that it's been a year," said Anastasiya Koval.

Ever since the war broke out, Anastasiya has been busy here at home in Northeast Ohio collecting donations to send to Ukraine.

That's where her father, Ihor Koval, has been on the ground, in his birth country, joining the war efforts.

"I know I'm fulfilling the needs of the soldiers," Ihor said.

He's been doing all he can to deliver necessary supplies to soldiers on the front lines.

"I've heard this a number of number of times, 'Hey, your body armor saved my life. Hey, your helmet saved my life,'" Ihor said.

Those donations, like protective gear and warm clothes, are all thanks to the generosity of people in the Cleveland area.

Ihor recalls conversations with some of those soldiers: "When you deliver something to us this is such a big motivation for us you cant even imagine," he said. "And then I go back to them, 'guys you are such a big motivation,' so it's a very good positive circle that we're creating here with this charity."

His daughter has joined him a handful of times to help make those deliveries, seeing it through from start to finish.

"It really changes things in the sense that you understand that what you're doing here, thousands of miles away, really is saving lives or helping impact the lives of these people who are risking their life to protect your culture your identity," Anastasiya said.

She was even able to bring a small piece of home to a soldier in Ukraine whose family has settled here in Northeast Ohio as refugees.

Credit: Anastasiya Koval

"They gave me a little drawing that the little one did, he's a six-year-old boy," Anastasiya said. "I just remember the look in his eyes, he didn't cry but he definitely teared up and he's like I don't even know what to say."

As thousands have been killed and millions were forced out of their homes, the two said this is their obligation.

"They're defending something that made me who I am," Ihor said.

As the war wages on, with no end in sight.

"They're shelling us harder, they're hitting us harder, its relentless, its nonstop," Anastasiya said. "I mean these men aren't sleeping for days on end and you hear about this from them."

Both beyond humble just hopeful they can help make a difference to bring peace and freedom to the country they love so dearly.

"This war keeps growing on such a scale and more and more people are getting killed and then drafted, so the need for supplies is evermore present," Anastasiya said.

If you're interested in donating to the family's efforts, they have a nonprofit set up as well as an Amazon wish list of the supplies most requested by soldiers.

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