RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Millions of people fled Ukraine in search of safety following Russia’s attack on the country. That includes a South Dakota native who was living in Ukraine at the time of the invasion.
“We ended up packing our most important belongings in less than an hour and headed out somewhere really not knowing where, all we knew was we needed to escape from these tanks and rockets,” Calvin Jones said.
That’s what Jones was thinking after he and his wife heard the first explosions. This is a similar story to what many other refugees are facing.
“It was really like stepping into a new life, I mean you are leaving everything behind at that point,” Jones said.
That’s why Jones is encouraging South Dakotans to help during this time.
Dream Design International, a development company in Rapid City, is matching up to $50,000 in the New Americans funding initiative.
They’re also helping launch ‘Freedom’s Haven,’ which could help thousands of Ukrainian refugees find jobs in South Dakota.
“We are fortunate to be blessed with the resources that we have. We cannot stand on the sidelines and abuse those resources and not utilize them to help others, we are just stewards of those resources and we have to utilize them to help other people,” Hani Shafai, Exec. Dir. of Dream Design, said.
Sponsors for the initiative, like Dream Design, not only hope to bring Ukrainian refugees to South Dakota, but also to a safe place.
“This is a win-win for South Dakotans and Ukrainians,” Jones said.
Calvin Jones will be performing ‘Soul Music and Stories from the Ukraine War‘ this week in Rapid City and next week in Sioux Falls.