Ukraine crisis hits home for West Chester University student

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- The crisis in Ukraine has hit close to home for a West Chester University student.

He's housing his parents in his college apartment after they fled the civil unrest in that country earlier this month. But this is only a temporary solution.

Bogdan Grebenyuk is spending much of his summer teaching his mom and dad English, using a computer video course.

The West Chester senior transferred to the university from Ukraine on a swimming scholarship.

He's an NCAA Division II, All-American breast stroker who's earned the nickname 'Shark' because of his skills in the water.

When civil unrest broke out in his hometown of Donetsk, Bogdan's father, an orthopedic surgeon, became a target.

"I was coming back from work, driving in my car. They caught us and I was told to get out of the car and lay on the ground face down. They shot in the ground next to my ear," Yuriy Grebenyuk said, translated by Bogdan.

That was July 2nd. Six days later, Yuriy and Olena Grebenyuk had fled the Ukraine and were living here with their son, sleeping in his college roommates' bed.

Bogdan's roommate, who happens to be Russian, went home for the summer.

"It is very sad, everything that's happening between Ukraine and Russia right now," Bogdan said. "I was born in the USSR and it was one big country. There was no Ukraine or Russia or anything else. We were all the same."

His swim mate, David McCormick, and his parents Ken and Chris are trying to help.

"We're working within the West Chester community to try to get them accommodations for when Shark's roommates come back to college," Ken McCormick said.

To help Shark and his family:

Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.