ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Major emergency and medical supplies donated by Monroe County to Ukrainian forces have officially arrived. The donation was made originally back in March and only just recently arrived after some hold-up at the German border.
Nataliya Pertsovych has been on the ground assisting Ukrainian forces since 2014 when Russia first invaded Ukraine, capturing the Crimean Peninsula. Her efforts ramped up this past February after Russia’s most recent invasion.
Pertsovych described the current state of Ukraine as “strashno,” the Ukrainian word for scary, but she says one word can’t describe how she feels.
“The horrors of war are unspeakable, and that is why the word ‘fear’ does not convey what we live through,” Pertsovych said.
In March, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced the county would be donating major emergency and medical supplies to Ukrainian forces. Local fire departments and ambulance services donated first aid supplies, gurneys, wheelchairs, two-way radios, and several ambulances.
“In these terrible days, the community of Monroe shares in their anguish and we share in their anger,” Bello said in March.
Once the five donated ambulances made it from Rochester to Germany, Pertsovych was in charge of the ambulance delivery from Germany to Ukraine, a process that took months due to clerical errors and various attempts to get the vehicles over the border. But she says when the ambulances finally arrived, the crew of medics she sent to pick them up were electrified.
“When they picked up that vehicle and drove it to the destination the next day, I told that the guys were dancing around that vehicle because they were so happy they finally had a vehicle that could save lives,” Pertsovych said, “The moment when they were finally all leaving the shipyard on a road was emotionally overwhelming. They knew the importance of what they were getting. And it felt like a small victory for them.”
Pertsovych has since worked with five hospitals in Eastern Ukraine that have been using the ambulances, saving those on the front lines, which is something RocMaidan founder Volodymyr Pavlyuk says makes a difference in his country’s fight for freedom.
“If you can imagine in your eyes and put twelve tractor trailers in a row and you can see it’s like a whole soccer field filled with humanitarian aid that came from the Rochester community itself, I think it’s important,” Pavlyuk said.
While Pavlyuk says these efforts have been nothing short of extraordinary, he asks folks here at home not to forget about what goes on outside our borders.
“War is not over. My gosh, if war stopped today, right in this moment, a lot of help will still be needed to Ukraine,” Pavlyuk said.