MILWAUKEE — A husband and wife in Delafield are praying for the safety of a woman living in Ukraine who they met nearly three years ago after she spent a week living with the pair.
"It was very personal. For us, it was very personal," said Bill Swendson.
A lifelong bond formed almost three years ago has Bill Swendson and his wife Mary now worried for the safety of a young Ukrainian woman who called Wisconsin her home for 10 days.
"She's very outgoing, a very warm person," said Swendson.
The Swendsons became a host family for Svitlana Mosiiaka who stayed with the couple in September of 2019 while she studied abroad in Wisconsin. They clicked instantly.
"I am so grateful for them. It is still the best memories. I was so heart-warmed with how they treated me," said Mosiiaka.
Ever since then, Svitlana and the Swendsons have always kept in touch. But now that her country is under attack, both Bill and Mary are worried for her safety.
"We wanted her to know that we were here for her and we (will) do anything we could for her, including having her and her extended family live with us," said Swendson.
Svitlana said no. Instead, she's staying in Kyiv with her husband and 11-year-old twins by her side.
"It's my country. They came to us. I'm going to stay here," said Mosiiaka.
She hopes now by speaking out and sharing her story, she'll be able to shed light on the devastating war that's erupted in her country, and encourage others to fight back.
"We just hope that it will be enough to stop Putin and to make all those war criminals responsible for their crimes against humanity and against my beautiful country," said Mosiiaka.
She says she's staying with her relatives in a bomb shelter during the night. During the day, she volunteers by coordinating humanitarian aid from abroad as much as she can.