Two army veterans who served in Iraq together, Christopher Loverro and Juan Rodriguez, are now carrying out humanitarian operations in Ukraine as civilians. They bring food, medicine, medical supplies and other items and get people out who want to cross safely to Poland.
The notion of “service after service” is not uncommon among veterans. According to a 2021 surveyveterans are more likely than non-military civilians to volunteer in their communities, interact with neighbors and even vote.
Over the past year, we’ve seen that the call to action and duty extends beyond community nonprofits — it even includes a return to war zones. Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, veterans took it upon themselves to organize evacuation assistance and support for refugees.
Now we are seeing the same action in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the free country in February 2022.
Loverro and Rodriguez flew to Ukraine via Poland simply because they saw an opportunity to help and they took it.
On the first day, they worked with a team of international volunteers who brought four truckloads of food to a depleted town in Ukraine. As they began unloading supplies, they saw the emotional impact of the donations on the faces of the people they were helping.
Veterinarians also brought food and medicine to a women’s and children’s shelter in Warsaw where 75% of children were sick or anaemic. When they return to Poland to resupply, they bring refugees with them to help ensure safe passage out of Ukraine.
“The Russians are committing the most horrible acts imaginable,” Loverro told We Are The Mighty. “It’s more terrifying than when we were shot in Iraq.”
Loverro and Rodriguez personally fund their efforts, including transportation, housing, and the purchase of donated supplies. Knowing the men and their service history, they will continue until their credit cards run out.
If you want to support their efforts, you can send personal donations (rather than going through GoFundMe, which requires time and paperwork to get funds through) directly to Loverro – a direct personal contact and friend of We Are The Mighty – via PayPal: [email protected]