April 17, 2022
Upon his return from Ukraine, having seen the impact of the war on the people there, Aiden and Becca began planning a second mission.
In communication with medics who were serving on the front lines it became evident there was a great need for body armor and protective equipment.
Additionally all of the medical supplies which were delivered in the first trip had already been consumed to include the use of over 100 tourniquets.
Aiden began to dedicate all of the profits of his magic theater at the historic Stanley Hotel to rendering aid to the people of Ukraine. Thanks to the generous donations of Mr. Noffsinger and of Mr. and Mrs. Busch of Loveland, Colorado, Aiden was able to launch a second mission in short order.
The need for body armor created some difficulties in this second trip as each vest would weigh nearly 10-12 pounds and Aiden would still be traveling alone and would have to move everything himself.
In addition to the armor, critical medical supplies were still needed and would also have to be carried into the country.
It was important to take as much as we could, but as the environment is immensely dangerous, mobility remained a factor and would limit how many bags could be packed.
Additionally consideration had to be given to what type of armor would we take and where would we source it?
Though ceramic armor is considered to be the gold standard in ballistic protection, most ceramic plates are not reusable. Additionally the cost of ceramic armor can be higher than steel body armor plates.
Fortunately as we researched and tried to find the best option we were introduced to Steel Ops.
Steel Ops is a Fort Collins, Colorado based company that manufactures steel body armor plate that has a proprietary coating that reduced the potential of spalling when a bullet impacts against it. Additionally the armor can survive multiple high caliber impacts and was cost effective, so we purchased enough plates to provide front and back protection to 20 military medics.
Once we sourced the armor plates, we needed the carrier vests to put them in.
Again our friends at 5.11 Tactical came through!
In addition to the plate carriers, 5.11 beams a source for individual first aid kits (ifaks), and we purchased every one they had.
A donation from the Laramie County Sheriffs office, provided us even more body armor to take down range.
In total, we were able to equip 24 medics with new armor and medical supplies.
The bags were packed and on April 17, 2022, Aiden headed back to Ukraine with 6 bags and 600lbs of gear.
Taking the train again was not option for this trip. The Russian military had begun targeting the civilian train line and a week before we left for this trip a Train station in Kramatorsk was struck by a cruise missile. 60 civilians were killed and 110 people were wounded.
So for this trip we partnered with an NGO in Poland to provide us with ground transport to Kyiv.
Driving through Ukraine you see destruction everywhere, but the further east you travel, the worse it becomes. The overwhelming thing is the choice of targets. Schools, hospitals, cosmetics factories, stores. Most of the damage you see is not to military installations, but the civilian infrastructure and social services.
On this trip the country was still under curfew and we could travel only during the day. After 2 days journey we met with our contacts and delivered the second round of supplies.
We returned to the states knowing we had much more work to do.