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From Ukraine to North Dakota: family finds hope in Medora

(From left) John and Hanna Dickinson are photographed with Hanna's daughter Anastasia Bazhina, her husband Artem Bazhina and their 19-month-old son, Anton, at the Dickinson home in Grand Forks Sept. 1, 2022. Artem, Anastasia and Anton are from Ukraine and survived the attacks by the Russian military in their home country.

In February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. The United Nations estimates at least 12 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine since then.

That includes Lyubomyr Shkandriy’s family. They’ve found a safe place to live in North Dakota.

Medora’s Pitchfork Fondue is a picture-perfect image of life in cowboy country. For Lyubomyr, the pictures tell that story and more.

Lyubomyr first came to Medora from Ukraine 17 years ago.

“I came here as a student,” he said.

He met a girl, fell in love and got married. In 2012, he made Medora his permanent home.

“I decided to immigrate to the United States for good,” he recalled.

As happy as he was in Medora, Lyubomyr missed his family.

“Ukrainians are very close, close living, close related people. The family is not just mom and dad and the kids. Family is a little broader than that,” Lyubomyr explained.

In 2014, his parents came to visit and in 2018, became permanent residents. His two sisters remained in Ukraine with their husbands and children. But when the war broke out, Lyubomyr immediately started working to get them to safety in Medora.

His sisters have found work with the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation: Sofiia Shkandrii works in the laundry, and Ira Lishchuk in food service.

“I’m the manager of five people in an ice cream and fudge shop,” said Ira.

It is work they are happy to do because here, they know they are safe.

“Mother, father, brother, kids, everybody is together,” Ira said.

Everyone except for Sofiia’s husband. He is helping people in their home country but hopes to one day soon join his family in North Dakota.

“We all pray for that soon my daughter and me as well can see him. Just touch him, be with him and be together,” said Sofiia.

But this family is grateful for this life they’re creating and the memories they’re making in Medora.

Lyubomyr says even though he hasn’t lived in Ukraine for 17 years, he still feels like he should be there, helping his country. But, he says, working here is helping his family still in Ukraine — he’s able to send his money to help his grandparents.

Source: KFYR TV