Washington man gives car to Ukranian refugees for small price

After months of moving from city to city, one Ukrainian family is now in the United States, starting from scratch.

SEATTLE — As a parent, your child is the main priority. Karyna and Artem Poleshchuk said the sound of bombs going off could be heard daily from their Karkev home. Their 9-year-old daughter, Veronika, would sleep in their hall when planes flew by firing rockets. They told KING 5 their story through their friend Elena Lee.

“Just entire buildings on fire and it was just getting scary for the child to stay around in Karkev,” translated Elena. 

Artem is an athlete who won the World Powerlifting Championship in 2015 and is a trainer. Karyna is a cartographer. The couple were forced to do the unimaginable and leave behind the life they built. They drove 20 hours straight and after many modes of transportation, arrived in the United States a month ago. 

“They had no choice, the life they had in Ukraine was taken away from them,” said Elena. 

Lee volunteers to help refugees in King County, and she reached out asking the Poleshchuk family what they need. 

“It’s hard to exist here without a car,” said Elena. 

With a budget of $4,000, they came across Emmanuel Ferran’s white Mazda. Sunday, he signed over the title to the family, but there was no exchange of money. 

“To be able to have a car in my current possession and I’m also blessed in the notion that I can give it away, it was a no brainer,” said Emmanuel.

Emmanuel’s mom fled the civil war in El Salvador when she was a girl, 

“She described to me how tough it is and she also described the helping hand that she’s had,” Ferran said.

The car wasn’t completely free though. Emmanuel had one request: 

Karyna stayed up all night baking a Sharlotka apple cake, her mother’s recipe. The pie was worth every bite. 

“I’m trying right now to see if they can teach me the recipe so I can make it myself. That was a really good pie,” said Emmanuel.

“They never thought that kind of kindness was possible,” said Elena.

It’s been nearly four months since President Joe Biden announced the country would welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees after Russia invaded their country. Washington state was home to some Ukrainians even before the invasion.

As of May, the State Department of Social and Health Services claims more than 6,500 Ukrainians have settled in Washington since 2010. It’s unclear at this time how many refugees have settled in Washington since Russia invaded earlier this year.