LVIV, Ukraine (WSVN) – A South Florida man known for creating moving memorials during times of tragedy has turned his attention to a war zone. He’s now honoring the lives lost in Ukraine.
“It all started after the building collapsed in Surfside,” said Leo Soto, of the Wall of Hope Foundation. “I created the memorial there, and I basically saw firsthand the power that these memorials have.”
Soto creates places to grieve and heal. He made a memorial wall in Lviv, Ukraine for every person who has lost their life in Russia’s invasion.
The Miami man said he just wants to honor those killed.
“So, I actually started by myself putting on the pictures, and then all of a sudden, Olga, a local lady, she saw me. She said she can help,” said Soto, “and then before I knew it, people were just asking to help, and then, when they saw the flowers going up, you know, obviously there’s a language barrier, so it’s difficult for me to communicate, but flowers are universal.”
Soto created a similar wall in Surfside last year, just feet away from where Champlain Towers South collapsed. He hopes the wall full of flowers and photos brings comfort to people mourning and helps the community heal.
“The beauty is that it’s not my memorial. It’s really a place where people are going to add pictures of their own. They’re going to have their own flowers, are going to have their own messages and then make it their own,” said Soto.
The artificial flowers were donated from Poland, so people won’t have to replace them.
Soto also created a wall in Kentucky following deadly tornadoes and says it also brings him relief.
He said, “It gives people a community, a place to heal, to begin to hug each other and love each other, and it’s amazing to see that just yesterday I was here, and I’ve hugged so many people that I never knew before.”
According to the United Nations, more than 2,000 civilians have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine over 60 days ago, but an accurate death toll is difficult to determine.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.