Heartbreaking and Uplifting


Our School Commission Chair Jake Gillanders is presently in Poland with Empact Northwest, an emergency relief organization he started in 2010 with a group of fellow firefighters to help the Haitian people after the earthquake.  On March 7th, he sent the email below.


Our two missions moving forward are coming together as follows:

  1. Working with several partners, we’ll be establishing a field hospital in Ukraine, primarily focused on what’s called “trauma stabilization”, basically a MASH type facility with limited surgical capabilities to stabilize injured patients before transport.  We’ll then be running an evacuation corridor back to the border to transfer patients to the Polish side.
  2. We’re working to establish a primary care clinic in one of the reception centers here in Przemyśl.  Because Ukraine isn’t allowing any man between 18 and 60 leave, these are mostly filled with the elderly, women, and children.

The situation here is both heartbreaking and uplifting.  On the one hand, we’ve met hundreds of refugees who have been forced to flee the violence with nothing but their clothes and a bag or two, including lots of children.  On the other hand, the outpouring of support from the Polish people has been nothing short of astounding.

There are thousands of volunteers from across the country who are coming out with no expectation of reward or payment and reportedly 90% of Poles are supportive of refugee services and 65% report that they’re willing to help directly. It’s probably worth noting that Poland is 92% Catholic and the Christian spirit here is so very strong.  They’re truly living their faith.

Donations can be sent to: www.donorbox.org/Empact-Ukraine.

With gratitude,

Susan Kilbane