Utah men, Idaho brother help Ukrainian refugees at nation’s border

Mar 18, 2022, 7:34 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:37 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah men are in Poland right now, and along with a brother from Idaho, are doing what they can to help with the fleeing Ukrainian refugees.

The men rented large passenger vans and are traveling back and forth to the Ukrainian boarder to pick up refugees and take them to safety and to places with food and shelter.

“We’re in a plaza in the middle of Krakow, (Poland),” Rob Sturgill said to KSL via Zoom.

It was 10 p.m. at the time, and the day was still far from over for Rob, who is from Idaho. David is from Utah, with John Norton also from the Beehive State.

“There was a lot of tears shed today,” Sturgill said. “Not sleeping, not eating, not drinking.”

Since last weekend, the men have been working practically around the clock to help with the refugee crisis.

“You just watch busloads and busloads of these women and children coming off, and they are just startled and scared, and they’re in a situation where they don’t know what to do,” Sturgill said.

They said the most difficult part of helping out is not having enough room for everyone in their vans.

“A young lady came up to me and she said, ‘Would you please help us? Would you please help me and my children and my mother? We need to go to safety.’ It’s just touching to see the impact that we can have, you know — just individual people helping out individual people, we can make a difference.”

Back in Utah County, their story is hitting close to home at Freedom Prep Academy in Vineyard. Third grade teacher Fidias Penate, whose wife runs a dance studio, is organizing a Ukrainian Dance Concert with some popular dance groups for Saturday night as a fundraiser. The event starts at 8 p.m. at the school, located at 426 North 100 West. Fidias is working with the Sturgill’s sister who is a teacher at the school.

“Doing something rather than just feeling bad about what’s happening — doing something to help the people,” Penate said.

The men in Poland also felt like they just needed to do something. Now, the challenge will be leaving a place and a people they have come to love.

“I think the difficult thing is, you know, to feel like we’re leaving when there’s so much more to do. I think that’s the hard part,” Sturgill said.

All money raised at Saturday’s dance concert will go to the Sturgills’ nonprofit organization* that is helping Ukrainian refugees.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
2 months ago
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
2 months ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
2 months ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
2 months ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
2 months ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Utah men, Idaho brother help Ukrainian refugees at nation’s border