Ukrainian family whole again thanks to metro family, local organization

Ukrainian family reunites after 1 year

Ukrainian family reunites after 1 year

A Ukrainian family that calls Minnesota home now is whole again thanks to a local humanitarian organization and the generosity of a metro family.

Almost exactly a year after Vadym and Liubov Holiuk arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — fleeing war-torn Ukraine with their three daughters — they waited eagerly in the baggage claim for the rest of their family to join them.

Vadym Holiuk describes that year as a roller coaster.

“Sometimes [it was[ difficult, sometimes it’s very, very amazing,” Vadym said.

When the doors opened and Vadym’s parents, sister, and niece walked through to meet them, it’s safe to say that it was an amazing moment as the embraces were filled with smiles and hugs.

“I cannot explain. It’s very difficult [to explain], but we were happy to see [my family again],” he said about the reunion.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first introduced the Holiuks last October, highlighting their journey to Minnesota as part of the Minneapolis-based humanitarian nonprofit Alight.

“Tears to my eyes, truly, because it’s just such a wonderful moment to be part of and such an incredible moment to see a family reunite as well,” said Steph Koehne, sponsor program lead with Alight.

Koehne adds none of this would be possible without the organization’s sponsors.

“What sponsorship allows is truly an everyday person to make meaningful change and open a pathway of safety for a family. And in this case, it’s actually two families, which is incredible,” Koehne said.

For the Holiuks and their extended family now in Minnesota, their sponsors are Mark and Sharon Norlander.

“For me to see their real grandma come, it’s amazing,” Sharon said about Monday’s reunion.

“I can’t imagine being my age and locking the door and leaving everything behind. I can’t imagine packing a suitcase and deciding what goes to them,” she added about the Holiuks uprooting their lives.

Information on how to become an Alight sponsor can be found on the organization’s website.