The war in Ukraine has led to some remarkable profiles of humanity – including a love story spanning several continents.
Philip Hurst and Olga Ganay met through work virtually. Although Hurst lived in Ohio and Ganay lived in Ukraine, the two had an instant connection.
“I felt like I knew this person all my life,” Ganay said.
“Whenever I would talk to her … it was just peace,” said Hurst. “And that’s when I knew she was the one.”
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After months of FaceTime dates, the two met in person in Ukraine last year. On that same trip, Hurst proposed.
“Our first message was on her parent’s anniversary. I asked her to marry me in person on Sept. 13, with my grandfather’s ring which just so happens to be the same day that my grandfather asked my grandmother to marry him,” said Hurst.
Hurst had to return home to Ohio. Ganay remained in Ukraine. Then in February, the Russian invasion happened.
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“At that point I kind of lost it. Because she was in Kyiv. The capital city.” Hurst anxiously checked social media each day.
“Just to see because it says online five minutes ago … just to know she was alive … sorry to say this, but that’s what my reality was,” he said.
After learning that Ukrainians were crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, they made a plan.
Hurst drove 55 hours from Ohio. Ganay traveled through Poland, Spain and Mexico. The two finally reunited at the Tijuana airport.
“I’m like there she is … this is the moment. I’m just sitting there behind a Ukrainian flag with others waiting for their Ukrainian friends … and I’m like, this is beautiful. This is what magic is,” said Hurst.
“I was really happy to see him there. I cried,” said Ganay.
Ganay then took a bus to the PedWest border crossing. She safely made it to the U.S. late Wednesday night.
On Thursday morning, the two of them saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
“Plus the joy of having this woman that I want to marry and be with for the rest of my life next to me ... that we can grow finally and not have all these other things in the way ... top-notch,” said Hurst.
Hurst added that they love San Diego and might even move here to start their life together in the future.
A reminder that love knows no borders.