Good morning: Dover volunteers provide life support with supplies for Ukraine

By Mike Finney
Posted 4/20/22

DOVER — A nondescript white warehouse sits off McKee Road, near the PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Dover.

One thing that does make it stand out, though, is a small flag on the outside wall that is half-American and half-Ukrainian.

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Good morning: Dover volunteers provide life support with supplies for Ukraine

Posted

DOVER — A nondescript white warehouse sits off McKee Road, near the PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Dover.

One thing that does make it stand out, though, is a small flag on the outside wall that is half-American and half-Ukrainian.

Something else that makes this place different is Dr. Kirill Alekseyev — a native of Ukraine and the physical and medical rehabilitation director for the PAM facility — and his army of nearly 20 volunteers, who have joined others to fill trucks with personal protective equipment and medical supplies bound for the war-torn nation.

“We do this every weekend, and volunteers have certainly been a huge help,” he said. “There are a lot of people in need. They are needing medical supplies, clothes, hygiene products, sleeping bags, tourniquets and things like that.

“All these (contributions) are donated by the hospitals, fire departments, police stations, … just regular everyday people like you and me, … and it’s a tremendous effort.”

It’s also a collaborative effort, as Dr. Alekseyev has teamed up with Donate Delaware, the Medical Society of Delaware and the Delaware Healthcare Association to gather the items and get them delivered overseas.

Donate Delaware was developed by former professional boxer Dave Tiberi at the onset of the pandemic, and since its beginning, the organization has made it a priority to assist those in need, doling out an estimated 2.5 million PPE pieces to local medical facilities.

As a part of the Ukrainian initiative, Donate Delaware partnered with numerous donors to send more than 400,000 units of PPE, medical supplies and health products to Ukraine, as its residents defend themselves against the Russian invasion.

“This has been going on for five weeks now,” said Mr. Tiberi. “When I initially got a phone call from Dr. Kirill, he said, ‘Hey, would you be willing to spearhead this?’ and I said, ‘What’s your goal?’ and this and that.

“It was so neat because, within the next day, the president of the Medical Society of Delaware, Mark Thompson, calls me, and he says ‘Hey, would you be interested in helping us with this initiative in Ukraine?’”

On Friday, Mr. Tiberi joined dozens of volunteers to pack up a 12th truckload.

The supplies were then driven to Slavic Baptist Church of Harrisburg (Pennsylvania), where individuals will unpack the goods, label them and make kits before everything gets shipped over to Poland en route to Ukraine.

Local donors to Donate Delaware include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Highmark — among others — and both Mr. Tiberi and Dr. Alekseyev credited the companies’ support as a driving factor behind the successful effort.

“The generosity has been incredible,” Mr. Tiberi said, while helping out in Dover on Friday. “We just came from upstate, where we visited two sites, and there were over 20 volunteers at each site, coming from all walks of life. People are just ready and dedicated to help.

“One thing this shows you is, if you can’t get it done in Delaware, you can’t get it done anywhere.”

Ukraine-born Danil Romanischyn of Harrisburg will be escorting the donations to Poland before taking them across the border to six different locations.

“I’m going to be escorting over the supplies to make sure that they get exactly (where) they’re supposed to, and we want to make sure people get their hands on (the supplies) right away, instead of sitting in a warehouse somewhere,” he said. “The people who need it the most are going to get it as soon as possible.

“It couldn’t get any more personal than this. We have family out there. We all have close family over there. We live here, but our hearts are over there and here, so you cannot get any more personal than that.”

Tim O’Connor, president of Dover’s Capital City Rotary Club, also volunteered his time Friday. His group donated 300 tourniquets to the cause.

He said he has been amazed at the response from all over the state.

“We thought that, locally, we’d get donations, but what we’ve found has been that businesses have been donating to us, hospitals have been donating to us, people have been reaching out across the country to donate to us,” he noted.

“Mostly, what we do is we take the money, and we buy the supplies that they need. So we’re shipping the supplies over there and making sure that the money is going to the right spot. There is no middleman or anything like that.

“It’s companies in Delaware. It’s individuals in Delaware. It’s just people who really want to help the Ukrainian refugees.”

Donated items range from necessities like hospital beds, crutches, canes, trauma kits, baby diapers, formula and clothes.

“Everything that refugees need we’ve seen in (our trucks), and, literally, tons of it,” said Mr. O’Connor. “At some point, some of this stuff that we’re sending over there is saving lives.”

Another volunteer, Dave Skocik, president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition, added that he is in awe of the good work the diverse group is doing.

“I think people from all segments of society realize the importance of this,” he said. “There are people dying over there (in Ukraine), and ironically, this is Good Friday. This is a time when we should be supporting life and helping these people out.

“I think they’ve touched the hearts, the plight of these poor people, worldwide. I’m amazed, but it’s wonderful to be involved with this.”

To donate to this Ukrainian supply effort, visit the “PAM Health Delaware Supplies for Ukraine” Facebook page.