PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Panama City man, who’s been living in Ukraine throughout the war, has written a book. Robert Pitts wanted to reflect on everything he’s learned about living in Ukraine for the last two decades.
Robert Pitts graduated from Rutherford High School in ’73. He spent most of his adult life working for General Dynamics. But in 2003, he took a trip to Ukraine and met his wife. He decided to make Ukraine his new home.
“I very slowly just began to fall in love with the country here, the people are so good and the culture is so bright and intelligent,” Pitts said.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Pitts had the option to leave. He decided to stay instead.
“I have older relatives here and even the ones that were not old, some of the young, some of their kids and grandkids are at such an age, they just needed to have stability and I just couldn’t hold my head up and be the person who ran away just because I could,” Pitts said.
His home is approximately three miles from Kyiv, one of the main Russian targets.
“It’s a real eye opener when something like that happens, we literally were boarding up the windows and putting tape all over everything so the glass wouldn’t blow up because bombs were falling, we had literally cruise missiles fly right over our house,” Pitts said.
After all, he’s been through, Pitts decided to put it in writing in a book called “Ukraine: The Awakening”.
“I try to share it in a way that it would be accessible to American people from my hometown, I wanted people in my hometown to be able to read this and say, ah, now I kind of understand a little bit more about this country,” Pitts said.
One section of the book is devoted to interviews with people living through the war.
“Some of it’s even kind of hard to take, I mean, there’s everything in here from people who are like heroes who went and drove cars through dodging bullets to deliver food to people,” Pitts said.
While fighting near his home has calmed down, Pitts said people still feel the pain of the war every day.
“Everybody we know has lost somebody, everybody we know has somebody in their family who was fighting down there,” Pitts said.
Pitts and his wife still visit Panama City frequently. But for now, he says he belongs in Ukraine.
Click here if you would like to purchase his book.