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Ukrainian woman flees war zone and lands in Bayfield, Wisconsin

Ukrainian woman flees war zone and lands in Bayfield, Wisconsin
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 8:06 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 11:31 PM CDT
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BAYFIELD, WI. (KBJR) - At the Manypenny Bistro in Bayfield, they’re gearing up for the busy tourist season.

Their newest server is named Olha and her path to Bayfield proves she’s no stranger to overcoming adversity.

“I am from Dnipro, it’s situated in central Ukraine and I had a very good life before the war started,” said Olha Kucheriava, a Ukrainian refugee and new server at Manypenny Bistro.

According to Kucheriava, after the invasion, it only took a few days for the violence to reach her.

“Very near my home where I live they put bombs,” Kucheriava said.

After days of sheltering in a subway station, she decided to flee.

“After that, I think I need to leave the country because it’s dangerous, and if I have a chance to leave, I don’t want to die,” said Kucheriava.

She had to travel light.

“I left all my clothes and everything, I just have a backpack with me,” said Kucheriava.

While Olha was doing everything she could to get out of Ukraine, someone in Bayfield was doing everything he could to bring her there.

Two years ago, while working in Turkey, Olha met Mursel Demirkol.

He was raised in Turkey, but now lives in Bayfield and owns the Manypenny Bistro.

“I was watching the news and it was really scary, they were constantly bombing and they were really close to her city,” said Demirkol.

They’ve been dating long-distance and have been engaged for over a year.

The two were in constant contact with Olha since the invasion.

“Then one night I told her to just get away, jump the train,” said Demirkol.

So she did.

Kucheriava spent several days riding four trains to get out of Ukraine into Hungary.

Then she flew to Turkey to stay with Demirkol’s family, and from there, Mexico, and then the states.

“I fly to San Diego and rented a car and I picked her up in Tijuana,” said Demirkol.

After that, they flew east to get to Bayfield.

“Here it’s like very peaceful, you know,” said Kucheriava.

It’s a new life, free of war, on the shore of Lake Superior.

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