BETHEL, Maine (WMTW) -- A man from Bethel is sharing his story after taking three humanitarian trips to Ukraine.
In March 2022, George Fox had plans to visit a friend in Poland. After Russian troops invaded Ukraine, his holiday plans quickly transformed into eight weeks of humanitarian work.
"I have a car and these people are needing to get somewhere," Fox said. "So, it was just, it was really a no brainer. I just was just going to do it."
Fox rented a car and drove it over the border, delivering supplies to Ukrainians and shuttling refugees out of the county.
"The determination of the Ukrainian people … the will of these people to retain their one sovereignty, their freedom," Fox recalled.
He is one of a growing number of Mainers with personal ties to Ukraine.
Polina Panasenko, a 17-year-old from Ukraine, moved to Bethel to study at Gould Academy in September.
"I'm really happy that I'm here at Gould because I'm still able to learn, to continue my education, to someday come back and work on the development of my country because definitely, once the war ends, once we win, there is going to be a lot of work to do," Panasenko said.
Moving to the U.S. to complete high school was always part of Panasenko's plan, even before the war, but turmoil at home made the move challenging.
"Being here is sometimes scarier than being back home, because while I'm here, I'm having my full live, having an amazing experience at Gould that I probably would never have back in Ukraine," Panasenko said. "That was something I was not prepared for —feeling this more than when I was back home."
As war drags on, Fox and Panasenko exist between two worlds, closing the gap between Maine and Ukraine.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.