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Bengals' Drew Sample, wife hoping to get family out of Ukraine

Drew Sample
Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 16:14:21-05

CINCINNATI  — For Angelina and her husband, Cincinnati Bengals tight end Drew Sample, the war in Ukraine has hit home more solidly than for most in the state.

Angelina, who goes by Ang, was born in Ukraine, and most of her family is still there.

The couple is hoping for some way to get at least some of the family to the safety of the United States.

"They're sitting in the dark. No electricity, no lights, no power, they have to turn everything off. In case there's bombings. So they listen on the radio to the news to hear when it's safe to come out," Ang Sample said about her 70-year-old grandparents.

Ang said her grandparents huddle in the basement every time they hear air raid sirens go off.

"They're terrified. Because it is hard news is kind of hard to come by for them. They don't really know exactly what's going on," she said.

They live in Chernivtsi. Drew and Ang call every day to check up on their aunts, uncles, and cousins.

"We're checking in on them, making sure you know, they're okay, seeing how they're doing it just kind of just trying to distract them because there's really nothing else, you know, for us to do," Drew Sample said.

One of Ang's cousins just turned 18 years old. He's been told he will soon need to fight.

"He's never even held a gun in his hands. And he might have to report this week and go to the frontline and fight Russian soldiers," Ang Sample said.

Her aunt and uncle are first responders.

"They wouldn't leave. I mean, they're needed there. And they want to make sure that they're helping their community in any way that they can. My grandparents are the same way. They're ready to die there if that's what it means," Ang Sample said.

But Ang's young cousins? The Samples want to bring them to Cincinnati to stay until it is safe to go home.

Right now, they are told they cannot.

"They don't have family in Poland. They don't have family in Europe. You know, we're the only other family outside of Ukraine. And so it's, it's hard these younger kids, you know, trying to get out but then it's like the what's next of you know, you're just basically homeless on the street and in a foreign country," Drew Sample said.

The Samples explore every avenue to get their family and potentially others to safety.

They have contacted their senators and congress members. They were told to apply for U.S. visas, but they were told that just getting an interview would take months.

Tanya O'Rourke at WCPO first reported this story.