A group of volunteers from Rochester on the line of fire in Ukraine
Rochester, New York — In order to bring aid to those heavily impacted by the war, while even putting themselves in the line of fire, a group of volunteers with the Rochester-based Guardians of Hope organization took off to Ukraine.
Cameron Knaub, co-founder of Guardians of Hope, speaking from Ukraine on Sunday said: “This last Monday, when we were there and the two bombs hit so close to the place we were staying, we ran into the basement, and then afterward we were walking around in the fields, picking up pieces of the bombs that were out there. And you realize, this is the reality for a lot of people.”
According to Roman Bosak, co-founder of Guardians of Hope, who was born in Ukraine, the war has affected everyone, rich and poor, including his own family still living in the occupied country. “I talked to my personal family members here that are telling me, ‘Goodbye, it was really good to see you, but we don’t know if we’re going to see you again. Hoping that we will, but a bomb can drop any time and we’re gone,'” said Bosak on Sunday. “Just being able to hear that, it’s really alarming. It’s really striking.”
Watching the devastation on his television disturbed him, but seeing firsthand the impacts of death shook him to the core, the Ukraine native said.
“There was a man that got killed, and he had 12 children of his own,” said Bosak. “His wife and 12 kids had to flee to Germany. They buried him without the family being present.”
According to Knaub, it wasn’t until he crossed the Poland border that reality really set in. “Are Russian soldiers going to fall from the skies, like the towns we were in yesterday? Is there going to be a bombing that’s going to happen, because it’s nighttime, and it’s not safe for us to be out? Are we under Marshall Law, and we’re past 10 o’clock? Just from crossing a line, I didn’t have to worry those things.
On Sunday, the volunteers are returning to Rochester from their two-week mission.