Ukrainian immigrant puts on light show for Lincoln
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A drive-thru Christmas lights show is lighting the way outside the Lincoln Saltdogs Stadium. The display is in its second year, and it turns out the man who came up with the idea doesn’t just step up to add some holiday cheer. In his personal life, he goes out of his way to make people feel more welcome in a new place.
In the dark of night, in the biting cold, Constantine is out working, waving drivers through and making sure the Christmas lights stay on.
“There is something special about our community, and you have the opportunity to contribute something to make place, our Lincoln, our town, make it slightly better,” Constantine said. “That’s very humbling.”
Constantine has called Lincoln home since 2001. He brought his family here from Ukraine and started a heating and air business.
“One of the reasons I love Lincoln a lot is because it reminded me of Ukraine,” Constantine said.
Constantine and his family lived in Kherson, the major city recaptured by the Ukrainian army in November. As that war with Russia rages on, Constantine has helped dozens of refugees settle into their new lives in Lincoln and Norfolk.
“How to integrate, how to assimilate,” Constantine said. “There’s a huge need for that.”
One of them being his brother, who left his life as a beekeeper in April.
“I go to Lincoln because I have a brother here who helped me with an apartment, my life,” said Aleks Syniy, Constantine’s brother.
Constantine and Aleks’ parents are still in Kherson, helping to rebuild their community. Hearing from them and working with refugees has made Constantine more optimistic for Ukraine, even as it endures war in winter.
“I have much more hope than I had before,” Constantine said. “How people in dark times, they come together in Ukraine.”
In the darkest time of year, Constantine’s lights make Lincoln and little brighter, and his efforts make refugees’ lives a little better.
Constantine’s company, All Pro Heating and Air, is giving away a free furnace to a family in need next month. You can nominate yourself or someone you know here.
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