Apex man connects over 150 Ukrainians fleeing war with donated air miles

APEX, NC (WNCN) – As millions flee war in Ukraine, an Apex man works tirelessly to reunite them with family members in the United States and other countries by partnering from Ukrainian families to people willing to donate airline miles.

The man, who goes by the name MG, says he has already helped more than 150 Ukrainian families with donated miles, but there are so many more waiting.

“I’m blessed because I’m safe, my kids are safe,” Halyna Marchenko said as her son and daughter spent a Monday afternoon at a Raleigh playground.

Just a few weeks ago, security was not so certain. When Russia attacked Ukraine, Marchenko knew she had to get her children out.

“My sister, she told me there was a man here in North Carolina and he can help you with the tickets,” she recalled. “It was amazing. You know, he doesn’t know us, but he decided to help us.

MG, who travels frequently for work, donated air miles to fly the family to Raleigh where Marchenko’s sisters live.

“I always say, ‘Never let the scale of a crisis discourage you from getting involved,'” he said.

“At first I knew I could help a few people,” he added. “Within an hour, I realized how big this could get.”

MG urged others to donate their miles as well and began coordinating an effort to help as many Ukrainian families as possible.

“We’re getting nearly 9 million donated miles in three weeks,” he said.

“It’s amazing how people help people,” marveled Halyna Rivna, whose parents also arrived in Raleigh, thanks to the miles donated.

“I just know that the lady who gave tickets to my parents lives in Texas,” she added.

“We literally connect people around the world – not just with their families, but we make new friendships with the people who donate those miles,” MG explained.

He says he connects people who have miles with families who need them, adding that the people who donate the miles book the flights and pay the fees. MG said the process can take time in some cases, but he says he has seen many people offer to help.

He hopes to help more Ukrainian families in need. In order to use the given miles, Ukrainians must have all the documents they need and travel from Ukraine to a neighboring country.

There is a simple reason behind this massive effort.

“Someone helped me once, just like I help these people today,” MG explained.

It’s a gift that families will cherish forever.

“Yes, I still cry and pray, but my parents are the closest people to me,” Rivna said. “They’re here and I’m happy.”

Marchenko added: “Thank you very much to everyone who donated their miles.”

To learn more about donating miles, click here https://www.facebook.com/christmaslightsonholtrd or email ukrainehumanitarianflights@gmail.com.

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