Former Milwaukeean now in Ukraine housing, feeding and transporting people to buses headed toward Poland

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UKRAINE (CBS 58) -- As the Ukraine crisis continues, a man raised in Milwaukee is in Ukraine helping as many people he can.

Viktor Valionta knows all too well what it's like to need a helping hand, born in the Soviet Union and raised in Milwaukee as a refugee. Now he's returning the favor.

"Right now, it's mainly food for soldiers and a place to live in Lviv or the surrounding area," said Valionta.

He said currently the western part of Ukraine is relatively calm, sharing he hasn't seen a lot of military action.

Valionta moved to the Ukraine two years ago but said he chose to stay because he felt he needed to. His family either are safe in the U.S or have fled to Denmark.

"That sadness in not knowing if you're going to see that person again...it's really hard," said Valionta.

So far he said he's housed and fed about 10 people. On Monday, he drove an elderly couple to a bus stop heading toward Poland. The couple are parents of Jule Fridman, a childhood friend of Valionta.

"I'm very thankful for his help," said Fridman.

"If the tanks are going to pull up to my building, I'm going to, you know, go up and go out and stand in front of them," said Valionta, when asked what he'll do if the day comes when military forces touch down in Lviv.

Valionta said as long as there is a need for help, he will do anything in his power to do so.

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