DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — As Ukrainians flee their country amid the Russian invasion, a man and his wife fled their homeland and came to Palm Beach County for safety.
Feb. 24 at 4 a.m. was a life-changing moment for Walter and Oksana, who at the time were living near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
"My wife, she woke me up she said, 'This is the end.' I didn't realize [what was going on] because I was sleeping," said Walter, who did not give his last name. "I said, 'What end?' She said, 'Russian tanks moved over the border.'
The couple called their daughter, who was with friends, and told her to stay there where she was. They said she chose to help in the fight.
"She was there helping people who escaped from central and eastern Ukraine to settle, and she gives gymnastics lessons to the kids, and she's working at a military base in the kitchen," Walter said.
Walter said he and his wife stayed in their home for nine days before packing up two suitcases and their dog, Mia.
Then left behind their newly-built home and a men's clothing business.
"We tried to cross to Romania, but it was a line about 300 to 400 vehicles," Walter said. "We left from there and went for Moldova."
Eventually, they ended up in Poland with a friend and boarded a plane to Florida to stay with a friend in Delray Beach.
"We feel safe here but helpless so far," Walter said.
He said they are now facing different challenges, like the need for medical attention and a job.
"We are in a big need, even the grocery shopping, toiletries," Walter said.
Despite these issues, he is glad they found safety in South Florida.
"We don't have air raid sirens. We do not see Russian jet fighters, as it was there many times," Walter said. "Everything more or less is good here."