Força Ukraine Update- Two weeks from departure: February 16th, 2024

Dear Friends –

Our US-based personnel have just dipped under the two week mark until our departure for Poland and then onward travel to Ukraine. Our bags are (mostly) packed and our gear inventoried. We are really excited to be able to take several thousand dollars of medical equipment with us – most of it donated and collected by Dr. Steve during his time at home in December. Additionally, thanks to generous donations, we were also able to work with our friends at North American Rescue to procure about $5,000 of critical medical equipment that cannot be acquired in country. We are waiting on a significant donation of training equipment from a US partner that will make our training even more effective, and we are receiving donated equipment from a Ukrainian partner that will also help us provide the most realistic training possible. If you have followed our work in the past, you know that we specialize in realistic, scenario based training that allows those we train to get hands-on experience.

We are also extremely happy to report that we have two additional volunteer personnel who will be traveling out to Poland with us. This will allow us to carry even more humanitarian gear with us thanks to our friends at Sunflower Seeds for Ukraine and Ukrainians of Colorado. It will also make our initial bag drag from the airport to the Krakow train station slightly more achievable! The US-based team members – Finch, Emily, and I – will travel by train from Krakow to the border before taking an 18 hour train ride across Ukraine to meet up with the rest of the team. The Ukrainian-based team – Dr. Steve, Vik, Bohdan, and Yulia – are hard at work doing last minute gear acquisition and coordination. We are all incredibly excited for our March mission.

The reality of the situation in Ukraine is increasingly dire. As this conflict grinds on, the needs are as great as ever. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to return to Ukraine and continue to do the training that we do. We are also incredibly grateful for the chances we have had to tell our story – and to talk about the realities in Ukraine. Finch, Emily and I have all had the chance to present our work to audiences in Colorado and North Carolina. As Finch always says, one of the most important things we can do is keep Ukraine in the conversation – making sure that we do not lose sight of what is happening and the humanitarian crisis that continues to unfold.

We are all so incredibly thankful to you for your belief in us. While we are the ones lucky enough to be on the ground in country, we all know that none of this happens without you. You are as integral to this team and effort as any of us. We will keep you updated as we do our final preparations and then as our mission continues across Ukraine. From all of us, thank you.

With my deepest gratitude – Mike

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