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Austin company helps contractor, family escape war in Ukraine

Olga Gavrylko works as a graphic design contractor for Formaspace. Two weeks ago, she and her kids left their home in Ukraine with the help of the Austin company.

AUSTIN, Texas — Two weeks ago, Olga Gavrylko and her two kids left their home in Kharkiv, Ukraine after Russia started bombing the city. They don't know when they will return.

"[The day before,] I prepared my daughter to show a competition on skates on ice, and my son should have some lessons on football, and we have some big plans," Gavrylko said.

Those plans were disrupted by the Russian invasion. She and her two kids left Gavrylko's husband, parents and sister behind. She calls the war a nightmare.

"When you hear about this every day, it sounds like a bad joke," Gavrylko said. "It was like a bad dream that you saw when you slept."

Gavrylko works as a graphic design contractor for Formaspace, an Austin-based manufacturing company. Mehmet Atesoglu, the marketing director for the company, notified Formaspace CEO Jeff Turk about Olga's situation.

"As soon as he heard it like he jumped on the phone and started calling, calling around, assessing the situation and find ways to help them," Atesoglu said from his Istanbul-based office.

"I told them that and I told our staff, 'Get her out, get her and her family out, get them out by any means necessary, get them out at any cost, but get them out now,'" Turk said.

Gavrylko and her kids are now in Frankfurt, Germany, figuring out their next steps. Turk said Formaspace is working on getting her and her kids visas to come to the United States to work and live in Austin. 

"Maybe we have one chance in one million. Maybe it's possible I will come to USA," Gavrylko said. "Like I told you, I don't have a plan. I don't know what's, what will be tomorrow with me and my family."

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