Ukraine born pilot raises money for his family back home

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 4:45 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - With the invasion of Ukraine ensuing, a local pilot, who is from Ukraine, can’t help but think about his mother back home.

“No one really knows the situation better than the people there,” Lt. Commander Anton Leonardes said. “The people there really don’t know how the outside perspective is looking at it.”

Leonardes is a pilot at NAS Meridian. His mother and other family members live in Kiev, Ukraine. As Leonardes flies his two training missions a day, his mind is always on his homeland. Recently, Leonardes decided to make a patch to help raise money for his family and other Ukrainians. The support has been overwhelming and he’s grateful.

“It’s a movement of happiness because of the image I’m trying to present. It’s not about trying to help a single person. It’s about spreading hope. It’s what my whole life is based off of and that’s what I put into this patch,” Leonardes explained.

His passion for aviation runs deep. He focused on becoming a pilot early on and is now making it happen.

“Whenever you feel you’re at the worst time of your life, if you could turn into some kind of mindset of positivity and change it for the better, you will persevere,” Leonardes said.

You can find out more about Leonardes and his patches by going to his website:

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