Advertise Here

Hayla Holta and her 10 and 12-year-old daughters fled their home in Ukraine and traveled to Poland, where they met Gulfport Garage owner Eric Cudar and his fiancé Ulyana Fylypovych, as Holta and her daughters walked across the border. Now, they wait.
Eric Cudar 

On Monday, Feb. 28 Gulfport Garage owner Eric Cudar and fiance Ulyana Fylypovych flew to Poland to meet Fylypovych’s sister, Hayla Holta and her two young daughters. 

It wasn’t a traditional happy reunion at the airport. They didn’t meet at the airport at all – Cudar and Fylypovych met a bundled Holta and her frightened 10- and 12-year-old daughters at the Poland/Ukraine border. The family had walked into Poland to meet their Gulfport family in an accepting – but unfamiliar – country. 

Like many Ukranians, Holta’s family left their home because of the Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Escaping the attacks and repeated bombing isn’t simple. 

“Immigrant visas to the United States are processed for citizens and residents of Ukraine at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv,” reads the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine website. 

This is good news for refugees, but the process is clogged, and achieving immigrant status doesn’t happen overnight.  

“I’m in a panic right now; I cannot think because I know I will be leaving her in a few days,” Fylypovych said. 

“She [Holta] is like many Ukrainans: tough and stoic, but this is breaking everyone,” an emotional Cudar told The Gabber.

Both Cudar and Fylypovych will return to Florida Monday night. They’ll leave behind not only the uncertainty and fear in Eastern Europe, but also uncertainty and fear for their Ukrainian family.

“It’s terrifying for me to leave my family here,” Fylypovych said. “She [Holta] has no one here; she does not know this country and she does not know the language.”

Cudar thinks the family’s best bet is achieving refugee status in Canada. He’s paid for an Airbnb in Poland, where 42-year-old Holta and her daughters can stay for several months – until the money runs out. That’s not a long-term solution; Cudar, the Gulfport Garage owner known for local philanthropic works with his business, spent a large chunk of money on the Airbnb, but that’s not sustainable.

A man standing on a train near a woman in a beige coat Holta’s family includes Gulfport Garage owner Eric Cudar. He and his fiance, Ulyana Fylypovych, flew to Ukraine to aid Holta’s escape to Poland with her two pre-teen daughters.
Eric Cudar 

“I can’t afford to stay here much longer,” Cudar said, his voice cracking. “When it comes to the kids I’m very emotional. They may never see their father again.”

The girl’s father, 45-year-old Andrei volunteered to fight in the Ukrainian military. They lost contact with him a few days ago. 

Back home, Cudar’s neighbor, Judy Legue, offered the family an apartment in Gulfport if they make it to the U.S. That future is unclear at the moment, though the gesture remains. 

“I want to do anything I can to help,” Legue told The Gabber. “Eric was always very good to me, and very good to my husband.”

Cudar met Ukraine-native Fylypovych in 2013 after she came into Gulfport Garage as a customer.

“She’s the love of my life; she’s just a blessing,” Cudar said.  

Fylypovych accepted Cudar – including his two Gulfport-famous ring-tailed lemurs – as family. Now, he wants to help his extended family. 

Legue is in the process of creating a GoFundMe. Until then, anyone who wishes to donate can contact Cudar at 

Anything helps, Cudar said.

Support the Gabber

Team Gabber brought back the print version of the newspaper, and we’ve redesigned our website to make it easier for you to get the news. We’re not out of the woods yet, and every little bit helps pay our reporters, printer, and other expenses. Support local news and families — donate now to keep The Gabber Newspaper serving the community it loves!

Please support local news and The Gabber Newspaper!

Source Link

By gulfportsbest

Owner of the “Best of Gulfport Fl” which was built to help people connect with all the amazing services, restaurants, salons, bars and shopping venues in our local area. Get all your questions answered and stay up to date on all the cool things happening in our little paradise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *