Updated: May 12, 2022
Karolina and Mark traveled to Poland on May 5th-10th to bring critical medical supplies to help the people of Ukraine.
After several days, nights and early mornings of packing, 10- 50 lb boxes loaded with critical medical supplies were brought by Karolina and Yurii to Bozeman airport. URE is grateful to Michael of Delta and the agents at the counter for assisting us with baggage fees and checking us in for our flight to Salt Lake City. Karolina and Mark then connected to Amsterdam and then to Warsaw. The long journey took 19 hrs!
At baggage claim in Warsaw, we needed help unloading and managing our cargo. A U.S. Army veteran, Paul from Oregon, who was on his way to Kviv helped us transport everything to Danai's van. Danai is URE's superstar on the ground in Poland. We provided Paul a lift to his hotel in Warsaw and wished him well. Danai then drove us 5 hrs on a warm and sunny day to Katowice where we all got a great night's sleep!
We spent all day, May 7th, shopping in various malls and stores buying children's books, food, clothing, medicines, first aid kits and additional essential items requested from the mayor of Kopychinsti, Bozeman's sister-city in Ukraine. Support for Ukraine is evident throughout Poland with Ukrainian flags waving from houses and shows of solidarity on numerous billboards. We travel to Przemysl, a city on the border, on May 8th to transfer our supplies into Ukraine.
Our drive to Przemsyl took about 4 hrs. Danai drove past beautiful countryside of lush green fields on a warm sunny day. There were small villages with narrow roads and families biking and walking on the paths. This serenity belied the chaos that existed not far away in Ukraine. Electronic highway signs flashed a phone number of a helpline for Ukrainian citizens. Numerous cars and trucks with Ukranian stickers and humanitarian signs headed towards the border. There were dozens of rapeseed fields with their yellow colored flowers which blanketed the countryside and reminded us of the Ukrainian flag.
We met Yurii in a parking lot in Przemsyl. He had come from Kopychinsti and also was driving a white van similar to ours. After we exchanged greetings, Danai, Karolina, Mark and Yuri quickly transferred the boxes of supplies to Yuri's van. To celebrate the successful transfer, we ate lunch nearby at a traditional Polish restaurant.....McDonald's! After lunch, Yurii left for Ukraine and we drove about a mile to a veterinarian clinic where we dropped off some supplies. Dr. Kathy Quigley of Bozeman and URE will travel this summer to Poland to volunteer at a veterinarian clinic.
We returned the van in Krakow, had dinner and took a train back to Katowice arriving very late on May 8th. On May 9th, Mark and Karolina took a train to Warsaw, visited with Karolina's mother and cousin and had dinner with Merek of URE Poland where we planned future activities. At 6am on May 10th, Mark and Karolina flew back to the U.S. arriving in Bozeman 25 hrs later!
There are so many people to thank for making this campaign successful. Besides Danai, Ola and Kacper gathered food and essential items that we took to Przemysl. Much of the medical supplies came from Billings Clinic with the help of Brit and Steve of URE. These supplies were shipped to Bozeman due to the support of Lou and Alice through the UPS Foundation. And of course, the core URE team members of Michael, Yurii, Lori and especially Cassie who allowed us to use her garage to store these medical supplies!