Rescue Babushka Luba; Travis Airman evacuates mother from Ukraine to US

The war in Ukraine is believed to have displaced more than 5.7 million refugees and asylum-seekers since the invasion began in late February, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. After the opposition to Ukraine turned its focus to Kyiv, an Airman from Travis Air Force Base’s David Grant Medical Center sprang into action to ensure her mother, Luba, would be safe and as far away from the fight as possible.

“When the war broke out, I begged my mother for two weeks straight to move here,” said Capt. Zlatoslava Karga, 60th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron psychiatric nurse practitioner. “I’ve been asking her to move here since I immigrated.”

Karga was raised in Kyiv and immigrated to the U.S. in 2001. She commissioned into the Air Force in 2019.

As the circumstances developed in Ukraine, Karga said she could no longer ask her mom as a want but now as a need for her to move to the U.S.

On March 8, Luba reluctantly agreed to move out of Ukraine. Karga’s husband, Rob, set up a GoFundMe to offset the funds for last-minute travel arrangements and the money was raised within two hours. Karga pointed out that some donations even came from Russian families wanting Luba to get to safety.

Karga coordinated the trip, which was not an easy task according to her. She found a volunteer driver to take Luba out of Kyiv to Ternopil – usually a six-hour drive, but because of the war-torn roads, the drive took 14 hours. From Ternopil, Luba took an overnight bus to Kraków, Poland. Rob arrived in Poland and brought Luba to America on March 13.

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