Minnesota Native Who Escaped Ukraine Says His Family ‘Lost Everything’

31 March 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When WCCO-TV first introduced viewers to Joe Whitcomb at the end of February, he was hearing air raid sirens going off in his Kyiv apartment.

The Princeton native was living and working in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Whitcomb spoke to WCCO over Zoom from Poland. He’s been in the city of Torun for about a week, after a two-week long escape from Ukraine.

Whitcomb left Kyiv in the middle of the night in early March. A train ride to the city of Rivne took 12 hours just halfway.

“We had to stop whenever there were Russian planes, tanks, jets would be crossing,” Whitcomb said.

From there he met some Portuguese journalists who helped him eventually find a ride to the border. He saw families saying goodbye to their husbands and fathers who had to stay behind.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “Soul crushing.”

Whitcomb, his girlfriend, and son are all safe.

“They lost everything, he said. “I don’t have anything either you know…except what they could carry.”

He and his company are now helping to raise money to get military protective resources to Ukraine.

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