Stefan, who currently lives in the UK with his wife, Athlone native Valerie, previously lived near Lecarrow and had spent ten years working for Ericsson in Athlone.
The talented member of Athlone Town’s league winning teams of the early ‘80s is also a survivor of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which saw terrorists laying siege to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel while he was staying there.
Stefan said the recent Russian invasion of his father’s homeland has sparked fear and anger across communities around Europe.
“My father was Ukrainian and he came to England after World War Two. We still have a number of relatives living in Western Ukraine in a village close to Ivano Frankivsk and Lviv,” he explained.
“While they are not currently in an area being shelled or under occupation, they are fearful of what is coming and what the future holds. We have been in contact with them via email and social media”.
The former footballer recently attended a demonstration in support of Ukraine and its people in his home town.
“The Ukrainian people are extremely patriotic and cannot understand why their lives have been shattered by this invasion,” he said.
“There are a large number of Ukrainian communities across the UK and numerous demonstrations have taken place in support of Ukraine and against the atrocities carried out on the Ukrainian people. We attended one of those events last weekend in Shoreham Town where we live.
“It was just heartbreaking to hear multiple stories of families with parents, children and grandchildren currently in the towns and cities under siege and who are living in fear in bunkers or cellars.
“We visited Ukraine and our family a few years ago and it was such a vibrant place full of welcoming people and full of history. We continue to provide support in whichever way we can and pray that peace comes back to Ukraine and its people so that they and our family can start to rebuild their lives,” he concluded.