Kipling man headed to Ukraine to help

(Bobby Byrnell on the left. Photo from Byrnell)

As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, it has compelled one Saskatchewan man to fly overseas to help Ukrainians in distress.

Like many of us, Bobby Byrnell of Kipling was watching the devastation unfold on television when he made the brave decision to lend a hand.

“It tore me to see women and children going through what they’re going through,” said Byrnell. “They (Ukraine) required their fathers and even young men from 18 years old and up to have to fight. It definitely makes it really tough to give their family support to get them out of Ukraine and over to Poland.”

Byrnell has a family himself and says it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

“My wife understands and both my daughters understand that when people are in need of help (and) if you’re able and willing to make it work and you think you can manage to put yourself through that kind of stress, then by all means that’s what I want to do,” explained Byrnell. “If I can provide some support to the families that are going through that, then that’s what I’m doing it for. It’s a pretty surreal thing.”

He will be travelling to the region as a volunteer and cannot disclose what his role will be once he gets there. Byrnell says it’s quite a process to get approved, noting he had to go through an application procedure involving paperwork, background checks, security checks, and accreditation before being accepted by the Ukrainian Embassy in Ottawa.

“When you get that call and you get accepted it definitely really sinks in,” Byrnell adds.

He started his long journey to eastern Europe this weekend before beginning his volunteer efforts. He says if it becomes too dangerous for volunteers, like himself, he has the ability to leave at any time and come home.

Byrnell has once last request before he leaves Canadian soil;

“There’s a lot families that are in need of some places to stay and if people can provide places in Saskatchewan, I think that’s important.”





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