Utah State volleyball players Inka Mehtola, left, and Kristy Frank, right, discuss their friendship and the war in Ukraine. Mehtola is from Finland and Frank is from Ukraine.
LOGAN – A friendship forged between two Utah State University student-athletes has led to the family of one — Inka Mehtola — providing the family of teammate Kristy Frank a place of safety as they flee the conflict in Ukraine.
Inka and Kristy are roommates and have become best friends during their time as teammates in the Aggie volleyball program. When Jeff and Ludmilla Frank decided it was time to leave their home in Kyiv, Inka’s parents Tommi and Teija Mehtola offered to open their home in Raahe, Finland to the Frank family.
As the Franks made their way to Ukraine’s border with Romania, unbeknownst to Inka, her family had begun conversations to meet Kristy’s family in Helsinki and get them safely to their home in Raahe.
Until the last few days, the two families had never met. Kristy was amazed at the kindness of the Mehtolas.
“My family, when they found out that Inka’s family was willing to drive all the way to just come and pick them up and give them a place to stay, they were so amazed and just so grateful,” Frank said. “They thought it was so incredibly lucky that I was able to find a friend like that, like Inka, a soulmate, and then for her parents to be another best friend to my parents.
“It is so rare and they were so amazed and so grateful to see how good people are.”
Kristy, a graduating senior, sent a recorded message to her friends in Kyiv.
“I just want to say that you guys are so amazing and be strong. I know it’s tough times but with your will to fight and your will to show who you are, all the world is on your side,” Frank added. “So I believe everything will be good and God will help people of Ukraine and the country to stay strong and to stay Ukraine.”
The Frank family arrived in Finland Thursday.