DENVER – On Friday, several members of Sunflower Railroad, a team of military veterans and medical professionals, will head to Ukraine to drop off medical supplies and other resources collected from community groups throughout Colorado.
“We're going to fly into Poland. Our first evening, we're going to be staying with some local friends. Then we expect to be in Ukraine on the 17th, meeting with some of our local contacts,” said Daniel Taylor, Sunflower Railroad Team leader. “Our main goal is to get a bunch of medical equipment to people on the front lines.”
Sunflower Railroad has collected supplies across Colorado for weeks.
“There's been a Facebook group — that's the Ukrainians of Colorado — and they have been amazing,” Taylor said.
Irina Shatalov, co-president of Ukrainians of Colorado, said Sunflower Railroad’s trip is going to help many people.
“It's still so hard — so hard talking about this, so hard to watch on the news,” Shatalov said. “We were just searching for some people, looking for some people, who were flying right away to Poland, to Ukraine to help refugees, to help our people. So we are so grateful.”
Recently, Sunflower Railroad learned they would have another big donation to deliver to Ukraine: an ambulance.
Yana Clopton, Mountain View Fire and Rescue employee, said a few weeks ago she asked her fire chief if the department could organize a donation drive. The chief approved the idea and spread the word to other departments, which also donated money and resources.
“Poudre Fire decided to donate an ambulance, which was amazing. My first reaction was like, 'How is it going to happen? Logistically?'" Clopton said.
Clopton said Sunflower Railroad was willing to take on the challenge.
At a time when many firefighters on the Front Range are still dealing with the aftermath of the Marshall Fire, first responders are still taking time to think of others, Clopton said.
“It's very heartwarming to see that people are still responding to any kind of tragedy," Clopton said. “People are willing to pray for Ukraine, for me, for my family, for all my friends, and for everybody who is involved in this project and help. And people are willing actually to do something.”
Clopton, whose family is still in Ukraine, said she knows the danger Taylor and the Sunflower Railroad team will face to deliver these supplies.
“I'm so worried what is going to happen with them and I feel like they're my family right now,” Clopton said.
Sunflower Railroad is still working out the logistics for getting the ambulance to Ukraine. They will likely ship the ambulance and are currently raising money to cover the cost.
Click here to go directly to the secure Denver7 Gives form. Then in the drop-down menu, select "Help get Medical Supplies to Ukraine."
Denver7 Gives is collecting money to help them in their mission. If you would like to donate, click here and select "Help Get Medical Supplies To Ukraine" from the drop-down menu.
On Friday, the team flew out, with the $2,000 in baggage fees paid for by the money you contributed through Denver7 Gives.