Wyoming Family Sends Weapons To & Brings Refugees From Ukraine
A few months ago we told you about some folks in southeast Wyoming who were from Ukraine, originally and were not helping family members and other Ukrainians to escape the war and wait it out here in Wyoming.
This story comes from the other side of the state. Up in northwest Wyoming, a Ukrainian family has been taken to Cody Wyoming.
Nick Piazza, a Cody resident, and owner of SP Capital Management in Ukraine was sitting in Granny’s with his children when he got a FaceTime call from a Ukrainian friend. His friend was calling from a bomb shelter. Piazza heard sirens and the cacophony of noises that emanate from a war zone. (Cody Enterprise).
'You feel like a total heel because here you are sitting in Cody joking about French toast, and you hear people in a bomb shelter,' Piazza said. 'You hear the noises, and you understand how awful it is.'
Just imagine using today's technology to talk to someone, and see them, as they hide out in a bomb shelter as war rages outside.
Piazza had Ukrainian employees hunkering down in bomb shelters, sleeping in cars, and waiting for weeks to cross the border.
They saw bodies of fellow citizens. They had lost loved ones to death and separation.
Sometimes feeling helpless is the best motivator.
'I lived in Kyiv more than I have lived anywhere else in the world, and all those people are important to me,' Piazza said. 'I was brought up in Cody [and] when someone is in trouble, you help them out.'
Piazza and his family sent food, water, fuel generators, guns, and body armor to friends, family, and employees in Ukraine.
He even helped the Ukrainian army directly, providing them with protective gear, helmets, vehicles, weapons, and ammunition. Some of that is a little easier to get when you live in a place like Wyoming.
He then stepped it up by finding ways to provide the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force, with night-vision goggles, guns, ammunition, vehicles, and tourniquets.
Piazza went so far as to sponsor 15 to 20 fighters from the U.S. and sent them to Poland and Ukraine to help fight Russia. He even made sure they had all the gear they needed to fight with.
Piazza focuses on the army. His wife Yulia went to work with Ukrainian hospitals to provide medical supplies.
'We have a lot of friends [and] acquaintances who were guys that worked in banks [and] worked in offices, and they decided to go defend their country,' Piazza said. 'They’ve reached out and said we really need this, we really need that, and that’s where we found we can be the most effective.'
But there were still people who needed to get out. Entire families in some cases. Piazza contacted the U.S. State Department to bring two Ukrainian families to Cody.
He cannot do it all himself. Piazza is willing to help anyone in Park County sponsor a Ukrainian family.
For more information on sponsoring a Ukrainian refugee, visit www.uscis.gov/ukraine.