‘A piece of us is missing’: Calabash couple remembers son killed while fighting in Ukraine

The parents of the Carolinas man killed fighting in Ukraine speak out about his life and the need for resources overseas.
The Lucyszyns
George and Kathy Lucyszyn remember their son, Luke (Photos: Sydney Bouchelle WWAY/Contributed)

CALABASH, NC (WWAY) — The parents of the Carolinas man killed fighting in Ukraine speak out about his life and the need for resources overseas.

According to his parents, Luke Lucyszyn was an outgoing, sports-loving 31-year-old fiercely loyal to his friends and dearly loved his two children.

In April, Lucyszyn went to Ukraine to help refugees. He had a commercial driver’s license, so he planned to drive 18-wheelers full of supplies. His heritage partially inspired the decision to go overseas. His father, George, is an American of Ukrainian descent.

“He was seeing all that was happening on the news. He was watching it constantly and decided that he could help. That inspired him,” Luke’s mother Kathy said.

When Luke arrived in Ukraine, he found there were no more trucks to be driven. He got an apartment in Kyiv, did some research, and met up with a group of people to join the Ukrainian army as a medic.

“He had no medical experience until he went into the army. We didn’t even know he’d be interested in something like that. They gave him just a couple of weeks of training and he was their medic,” Kathy said.

Despite his parents’ pleas for him to come home, Luke decided to stay. His mother says he was scared and would even call her in tears because members of his platoon were killed in battle. Through the fear, he fought.

“Once he met all these men, they became such good friends. He kept saying, mom, I can’t come home now because I have to stay with these guys until they come home,” Kathy said. “We tried to get him to come home and when he was going into Donbas, I said Luke please be careful. He said, don’t worry about it mom. I’m a medic, they’re going to keep me in the back. I won’t get hurt.”

On July 18, Luke was knocked unconscious by an artillery strike. Three of his friends came to his rescue, but they were all fatally shot by a Russian tanker.

“Three men gave their lives to try and save my son,” George said. “That’s difficult to…to deal with. I don’t have any words for that. I’m supposed to give my life for my son. Other people aren’t.”

George and Kathy say it’s important to remember the war in Ukraine is not over and the people on the front lines still need help.

“It’s just international bullying, so people have come together to support the little guy,” George said. “We just hope that word stays out and these people need…they need supplies.”

The two say Luke asked for things like a tactical vest and a sturdy helmet. They weren’t able to send it to him because they lost communication before he was able to give them an address to where they could send them.

In addition to gear, the soldiers need equipment like drones and experts who know military strategy to help them against the well-equipped Russian military.

“It’s really the donations directly to the Ukrainian military is what is needed in order to help stop this war,” Kathy said.

Come Back Alive is an organization dedicated to supporting the armed forces in Ukraine. For anyone interested in supporting the war effort, visit here.

 

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