BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Each year, KX News highlights Remarkable Women throughout the month of March, which is Women’s History Month.
This year, we’re starting with a focus on one selfless woman, who changed an entire community.
“When the War in Ukraine started, that was the most devastating thing that happened to me,” explained Bismarck resident, Mirabella Punga. “It was just a nightmare. I will never forget the night when the sirens went on TV. I got a text from my friend Marlol, and she apologized for her emotions. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling. It’s like my heart dropped because Ukraine is right there. Marlol is right there. My family is there too.”
Last week marked one year of the war between Russia and Ukraine, but for Mirabella Punga, this time marked another emotional anniversary: her 11th year in the states.
“The people that came before this event happened made a choice,” she continued. “We left everything behind. We came to chase the American dream. These people didn’t have a choice, they just ran from the war to save their families.”
Not only did she chase that American dream, but she also shared that dream with so many others, especially those impacted in Ukraine. There was no time like the present to speak with her about her time here and all she does.
“It’s painful to see how people are suffering from everything that is happening,” stated Punga. “I try to help them with the network. I already have tried to get them connected to different organizations that we have here that are helping immigrants, and I try to be as helpful as I can even language-wise when somebody can’t speak English. It feels great. At the end of the day, I really feel like I’m accomplishing something in my life.”
Each year when we highlight remarkable women in our state, we discuss their amazing characteristics and what makes them truly remarkable. We have found these women to be determined, have vision, passion, and courage. And although she exudes them all, Punga is all about service in the Bismarck community and beyond.
“I don’t consider myself remarkable,” Punga stated. “I did this with no intention to be recognized. I’m just doing it because that’s how my heart feels. If I can help, I need to — I don’t see why not. It’s our duty as human beings, I think. There are remarkable women that did way more in life than I did, so I don’t know if I’m qualifying under that.”
C.S Lewis once said that ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.’ As for Punga, this is how she lives every day. And she does not serve others full time — she does all this amazing work during her free time between modeling and raising a family here in North Dakota.
“I work a full-time job,” Punga explained, “and I am a mom with two kids. My days are filled with working, working, working — and then come in here, and work, and get together with people trying to make things happen if I can.”
From fundraisers, standing outside the peace garden capitol in support, and being a listening ear, Punga is the bridge for locals between Bismarck to their native lands. Now that is remarkable.
Mirabella says the war is still a reality for so many people, and refugees in North Dakota and beyond do need our help. But whether the war ends today, or lasts for another year, she will continue to stand in support.
You can learn more about this Remarkable Woman and her life of service and work on this page.