New Orleans family stuck in Poland after rescuing mother and grandmother from Ukraine

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A couple from New Orleans, now living in Biloxi, traveled thousands of miles to bring their elderly mother back to the United States from Ukraine, but were stranded in Poland as they waited. waiting for your green card.

Bruce and Antonina Godfrey set out to rescue Hanna Khmyz, 80 years old, Antonina’s mother, from her hometown Khmelnytskyi during the Russian invasion of the country. Khmyz is living with sirens that don’t go off all the time.

Bruce Godfrey said: “She got to the place where she ignored them, and after a while, it stuck with her. “We just felt we had to come in and get her out ourselves.”

Antonina, from Ukraine, has called her friend for more than three decades. She was able to get one of them to take her mother to the Polish border.

“Her friends from 30 years ago brought Momma to the border,” says Bruce Godfrey. “They can easily cross the border and come to us. They took Momma to the border, turned right around and returned to their homeland. That for me is amazing.”

A sigh of relief: Hanna is finally out of Ukraine.

“She’s ready to come back,” said Antonina Godfrey. “She understands she has to be here because of the war, but she wants to go back to her home. That was her whole life. She said, “That’s my whole life, it’s my savings, that’s all.”

They drove back to Warsaw, the capital of Poland and the site of the American embassy. Fortunately, last summer they applied for a green card for Hanna.

But they are stuck in a loop. Bruce arrives at the embassy and stands in line, being told he needs to come back with an appointment and make an appointment the next day.

When he returned, the embassy officer told him he had the wrong type of appointment.

“I really just want some direction. I really wanted a face-to-face meeting to tell me what to do,” he said. “If I have to take 100 steps, tell me what number one and number two are and I’ll start doing them.”

“We’re having a hard time right now.”

They hope someone will see their story and help them get their green card fast, said Bruce, who is now at the National Visa Center in the US.

He said he had an appointment, but it had to be April 7.

Hanna’s story is just one of many, as nearly two million Ukrainians fled their country, some with nothing but clothes on their backs.

“This is everyone’s life. You put all your life into something and you have to go,” said Antonina Godfrey.

“I often liken it to Katrina, but after Katrina we knew everything was going to be okay in the end. These people don’t know it right now,” said Bruce Godfrey. “Looking at the TV is one thing, looking at the women and children here, it’s quite another.”

Despite their current situation, Godfrey’s said they were happy to have Hanna and know she was safe after the fight.

“I really can’t wait to meet and hug her as I haven’t seen her in years,” said her granddaughter, Anna Kushnir. “I want her to be with me, I want to be with her. She has taken care of me since I was a baby.”

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