A humanitarian “Christmas Convoy” from around EUR2 million has arrived in Kyiv. It includes more than 50 vehicles and light trucks and essential humanitarian supplies.
This convoy is one the largest private donations to support the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the war effort. Russia’s continued attacks on vital civilian infrastructure in Ukraine have caused more than half of Ukraine to lose or be destroyed, leaving millions without electricity.
The convoy of 50 cars was driven mainly by NATO and United States veterans. Many are Purple Heart recipients, which is a United States military decoration that is awarded to wounded soldiers.
Donated items include over 50 SUV cars and light truck, 75 energy generators and 250 wood-burning stoves.
Joe De Sena is the founder and CEO of Spartan Race endurance events. This is the most prestigious obstacle course race in the world, and he is one of the key players leading the Christmas Convoy.
After several unsuccessful attempts to connect, I was able to speak with Joe via a mobile phone. I asked Joe what motivated him and his fellow veterans, to donate to Ukraine.
De Sena, a long-term Ukrainian investor, said that this humanitarian mission was showing the rest the world that bullies pick on anyone of us. “The Spartan Race community, which is made up of 10 million people and covers 50 countries, is a sign of solidarity with the peoples of Ukraine. It’s an amazing feeling to see humanity stand together against injustices. Without the incredible support of our allies, veterans and donors, I couldn’t have achieved this feat without their amazing support.”
Joe believes that the spirit of his Spartan Race organization mirrors the determination and will of the Ukrainian people. Joe also believes that people of like mind can work together to make a difference. All types of people, from philanthropists to large corporations that donate humanitarian aid to US and NATO vets, some of whom have been disabled in other conflicts, are working together to resist an aggressor and ensure Ukraine’s survival. He believes there is a turning point and that things will change in six months. He doesn’t believe there is such a determination from the Russian side.
While we spoke, he was still receiving texts from all around the globe offering support and assistance.
Kemar Ebanks (a US Army Veteran) was a Fellow at The Special Operations Transition Foundation (SOTF). He drove one of the vehicles that left Rzeszow, Poland, during the 2-day journey towards Kyiv. He answered the question, “Why did you travel all the way from Fayetteville to take part in the convoy?”
“Winter is already here and there is still an acute shortage of generators in the nation following Russia’s barbaric and relentless attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. We hope this latest donation will help to keep vital facilities in Ukraine operating this winter. We want to demonstrate that veterans understand the difficulties the people of Ukraine face and are willing to do whatever we can to support the struggle for freedom. We wanted to show real support to the Ukrainian people at Christmas, which is a time when people celebrate goodwill. This is what Christmas spirit means to us.
Andriy Yarmak, Head, Office of President of Ukraine, welcomed Joe De Sena’s assistance and the veterans. He said, “I know that you really inspire many people. Your example and your life are an inspiration, as is your today’s action. We are grateful that you not only supported us but also provided the necessary resources for today’s heroes.
The Christmas Convoy will be working with the Slovakian non profit ‘Aroo’ to provide humanitarian aid in conflict zones. Aroo is an expert in humanitarian assistance, including the provision of medical supplies and protective equipment. The convoy was supported by friends and leaders of the Spartan Race community and was funded by generous Western donors.
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