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A 53-year-old man from Quincy couldn’t sit on the sidelines when he learned some of his co-workers were stranded in Ukraine during the start of the Russian invasion and flew himself out on a rescue mission.

According to a Boston 25 article published Monday, Andrew Smeaton, the Chief Information Security Officer at DataRobot, Inc., a Boston-based company with offices in Kyiv, Ukraine, stopped everything when he learned a large chunk of his co-workers were still trapped there.

Once Smeaton learned DataRobot had about 250 employees, including his friend Kris van Huystee, still working in Ukraine during the time of the invasion, he dropped everything and left Boston for Frankfurt, Germany, before transferring to Poland, he said.

Smeaton said he knew getting a car would be hard, so he sold his wristwatch for a beaten-up car held together with duct tape. He told Boston 25 he encountered a few problems along the way but eventually was able to get through.

Smeaton made it to Ukraine on March 2 and eventually found Huystee, his wife, 12-year-old son, and their pets waiting.

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They made it back to Poland on a nerve-wracking car ride and are currently staying in a hotel in Krakow, working with World Central Kitchen to help the thousands of refugees entering Poland every day.

“Now we feel safe. We’re in a good place. Andy and myself at DataRobot, we’re just doing our best to get as many other people over here as possible,” van Huystee said. “I owe him my life. He saved us. When I first got here, I told him I’d do whatever I can to help out with the operation.”

Read the full article here.


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