Penn Valley man discovers distant relatives in Ukraine, helps them flee days later

Gary Wasserson had no idea he had distant family in Ukraine until the war unfolded

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Over the course of a week or so, a Montgomery County man found out he had relatives in Ukraine, connected with them, and flew to Europe with a goal to get as many to safety as he possibly could.

Gary Wasserson of Penn Valley recently got an email that some of his relatives were putting together a fundraiser for distant family members in Ukraine — family members he didn’t know he had, he told NBC10.

“I looked at my wife and I said, ‘Ellen, the money is great. But that’s not going to keep them alive. We have to get them out of there,’ ” he recalled.

He started communicating with those distant relatives. Thanks to some assistance, Wasserson helped them get out of Ukraine, and he flew hundreds of miles to hug them on Polish soil.

And, he told NBC10 that he’s not stopping there.

Wasserson decided to stay in Poland a little bit longer, working with humanitarian and rescue groups on the ground.

“We’ve all been working on getting as many people out as we can,” said Ellen Wasserson.

“I don’t care what their religion is. I don’t care what their color is. I don’t care what their beliefs are. They’re human beings,” added Gary Wasserson. “They have a right to live.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jon Ostroff to NBC10