Danville Family Travels Overseas to Help Ukrainians

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“How can I help?”

That's the question many people have asked as many watched the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. For one local Danville family, it needed to be more than just donations.

“We wanted to do more than thoughts and prayers, we wanted to actually go ourselves and really make a difference,” said Danville resident Michael Busselen.

And so, he did.

“So, like a week and a half ago, he was driving me to a dentist appointment. And says ‘Hey, I might want to go to the polish border up against Ukraine and drive some refugees to safety’ and I was like ‘Ok I’m coming’” Busselen said.

Busselen and his 17-year-old son Soren made a plan and bought two tickets to Berlin.

“My mom said oh your going to miss prom and i as like that’s fine cause prom is so insignificant compared to the importance of these huge events, this war that’s going on in Ukraine,” said Soren Busselen.

They arrived Tuesday, rented a van, loaded it with supplies and then drove to a shelter in Poland.

Soren Busselen said they made a sign reading seven people to Berlin and three families immediately came over.

“It was incredible right off the bat just to see the excitement that they had when they saw that we were going to Berlin,” he said.

The Busselens said it was an 11 hour trip, where friendships were made and where tragic stories were shared with the help of Google Translate.

The Busselens told NBC Bay Area Friday the highlight of the trip was when they stopped to get lunch at burger king.

“They were just so happy and afterwards, we took a picture in front of the van and I said cheese and even though they don’t speak a word of English everyone knows to smile at cheese and they were full of burger king and happy and they all smiled, it was a really special moment,” Michael Busselen said.

On Friday, the two went out to reload the van with bandages and medicine and they’re hoping to shuttle one more group of families to shelter in Germany before heading back to the Bay Area.

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