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Mission 1:
March 11, 2022

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On February 24, 2022, Russian military forces invade the nation of Ukraine.  The invasion began with little regard for civilian life and as the world watched, the people of Ukraine mounted their defense.

From the onset of hostilities, civilian infrastructure was deliberately targeted and on the 9th day of March 2022, Maternity Hospital #3 in the city of Mariupol was bombed.  This act prompted AIden Sinclair to get directly involved in the provision of humanitarian aid to those in need in Ukraine.

 

Upon hearing of the bombing, Aiden and his fiancee Becca Knight along with the the financial assistance of Mr. Paul Noffsinger of Greeley, Colorado, purchased 150 pounds of critical medical supplies.  The logic behind our first trip was that the treatment of wounds inflicted by the constant shelling and bombardment would require a lot of trauma dressings, blood coagulant, tourniquets and chest trauma seals.  We also knew that due to the attacks in Ukraine, major international courier and freight services like FedEx and DHL were no longer delivering into Ukraine.  So the decision was made to take the supplies in ourselves.

As a former United States Marine, Aiden was trained to operate in a conflict and combat environment and he felt confident that he could get the supplies into the country safely.  He departed for Ukraine the next morning.

This first mission was planned for mobility and efficiency.  

 

As Aiden was traveling alone and needed to be able to physically carry everything he took, we chose to pack only the things that were not only the most needed, but which were light in weight and small in size so that we could take the as much as possible.

This amounted to 150lbs of critical trauma supplies packed into A large military ruck sack and 2 large rolling duffles provided by the local 5.11 Tactical Store.

In addition to the medical supplies, Aiden had to also carry his personal body armor, food and water supplies into the country.

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Aiden departed Denver, Colorado on March 10 on a flight to New York City where he connected to a flight to Warsaw, Poland.

Upon landing in Poland, he arranged for transport into Ukraine by train.

The central train station in Warsaw was packed with refugees arriving from Ukraine.

Ticketing and waiting areas had become temporary housing for women and children fleeing the war.

The train from Warsaw to Kyiv was delayed nearly 12 hours, and as he waited, Aiden met a 12 year old boy named Ivan who was now living in the train station, sleeping in a donated sleeping bag on the floor.  Ivan had lost both of his parents and was waiting for an orphanage to come and get him.

Once on the train, the supplies took up most of the small cabin and after 48 hours of travel, Aiden was headed into Ukraine.

Across the border, the war soon made itself known.  The train itself was mostly empty.  Only  around 100 men were on a train made to carry a thousand people.  

 

Each man aboard was returning to Ukraine to fight for his country.

The journey to Kyiv took 26 hours and Aiden arrived at 2am to a city that was blacked out to hide from the Russian bombers.

No lights were on in the train station.  

No lights were on it the city.

No photographs were allowed.

Aiden met with his contact with the Ukrainian Emergency Services at the Kyiv train station and delivered the supplies.

He then got back on the train for the journey back to Poland.

The train was now filled with mothers and their children escaping the war.  Ukrainian men were not allowed to board.

 

As the train left the station the women waved goodbye to sons and husbands not knowing they would ever see them again.

Halfway through the journey, the train broke down.  The train and her crew had been running non-stop since February 24th.  Taking refugees to Poland and supplies back to Kyiv.  Her crew had no days off and rarely slept.  

As we waited for the repairs, the air raid siren began to wail in the city nearby.  The train was reloaded and it limped slowly away from the incoming bombardment to the next station.

Once at the next station, the train was repaired while everyone remained aboard.

After a 36 hour journey in a packed full compartment, we arrived back in Warsaw.

Walking through Warsaw on the day before we returned to Colorado, we knew that we would return for there was so much more to be done.

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