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St. Louis man who helped facilitate hundreds of adoptions in Ukraine killed in Kiev

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 10:48 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The word hero is used to described Serge Zevlever by almost everyone who had the joy of knowing him. He lived in St. Louis, but his passion was helping facilitate adoptions of children in his home country of Ukraine. He helped hundreds of children, many with special needs, find families to call their own.

“The most gentle, loyal, kind soul you could ever meet,” said Olga Gow, a long-time family friend.

Zevlever, 62, was in Kiev helping families adopting children get out when the Russian invasion began. His family says he and his wife were seeking safe shelter when he was killed this week.

“He stepped outside because he heard some sort of scuffle and he was shot by a sniper. Marina, his wife, is left there alone, she found him,” said Gow.

Now, Gow and others are working to ensure Marina is safe as war wages in Ukraine. They’ve started a GoFundMe page to help in anyway they can.

Up until the end, Zevlever was helping others, including the Jagge family from Texas.

“We just saw him, he just helped us,” said Kelsci Jagge, who was able to escape Ukraine with their son who they adopted just two weeks ago.

“We’re all heartbroken and praying for the rest of the team that’s over there,” said Jagge.

The Rowe family in North Caarolina adopted eight children from Ukraine with the help of Zevlever.

“He had an amazing heart. You could tell he had such a love for the children of Ukraine,” said Tim and Janice Rowe.

In Tulsa, the Urban family can’t imagine life without their three children they adopted from Ukraine.

“He blessed so many families. He did amazing things,” said Charissa and John Urban.

They wonder just how many more children he could have helped.

“There’s been many sleepless nights since this has happened and especially since the news of Serge’s passing,” said Gow. “It’s just very shocking and there’s just no words to describe the loss we feel as a family.