Ukrainian expat convinces Brandon fire department to donate life-saving equipment

A Ukrainian-Canadian man’s drive to help those affected by the war in Ukraine has led to the donation of live-saving medical and emergency equipment by the Brandon Fire & Emergency Services. 

Municipal employee Oleksandr Holovan says he wrote a letter to the City of Brandon seeking support for his home country. The response was the largest donation he has received since he started collecting items to send to Ukraine.  

“We are honoured to be able to partner with other local organizations to support the people of Ukraine,” said Brandon Fire & Emergency Services Chief Scott McDonald in a news release Thursday.

The medical supplies and emergency response items being donated are: 22 firefighting helmets, five scoop stretchers, five long back boards, two Kendrick extrication devices, one trauma bag, one Sager traction splint and one stair chair. 

‘I just want to help’: Oleksandr Holovan

Holovan came to Canada in 2008. His parents and brother still live in Ukraine. 

He says even though his family isn’t in any immediate danger where they live, in the middle of the country, he still couldn’t resist the urge to help those who are suffering. 

“I just want to help,” Holovan said. 

“I feel pain. It’s a terrible situation. Civilian people [are] suffering a lot. [There’s] a lot of bombing.” 

Holovan has been collecting items from anyone willing to donate. He says whatever he collects will be combined with donations received by other groups in Winnipeg and shipped to Ukraine. 

In a statement early last month, Brandon’s Mayor Rick Chrest said he and his council stand “in solidarity with the people of Ukraine both at home and abroad against the Russian invasion.”

“Brandon is currently home to many Ukrainians, and people from Ukraine have played a significant role throughout the history of Brandon and our region,” said Chrest.

“We add our voices to the provincial and federal governments that call for Russia to end its aggression so that peace can be restored in the region.” 

The city raised the Ukrainian flag for four days and four nights last month to show support for Ukraine.

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