(WWJ) – A St. Clair Shores man with Ukrainian ties is heeding the desperate calls for supplies from the war-torn country by personally driving body armor, medical kits and surgical supplies across the European border in an effort to help in whatever way he can.
Restoration business owner, Anthony Pate, explained his prior military experience, which included running relief efforts in response to numerous natural disasters across the US, along with his personal connection to Ukraine, spurred him into action.
“I have a lot of family and friends in Ukraine, my wife is Ukrainian,” Pate said a he was traveling across Poland in an inclusive interview with WWJ’s Roberta Jasina and Jason Scott on Tuesday morning.
Russia invaded Ukraine almost two weeks ago, causing a massive humanitarian crisis and plea for aid as bombing and shelling and caused disruptions to supply chains needed to run hospitals and defensive operations.
“We’ve reacted to emergencies, we’re used to dealing with that and combined with some military experience I have, I thought, well, better than to start to put something together. I thought a little something will help and its just grown exponentially in the past week or so,” Pate said.
Pate’s journey to Ukraine started when he began accepting donated bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, emergency kits and hospital supplies, posting the updated lists of items needed to his Facebook page.
Pate explained that the items were being flown air cargo into Poland where escorts would drive them across the eastern border.
“We have three cargo planes completely filled and have already departed, arrived in Poland and are shipped successfully into Ukraine,” he said.
The most recent shipment went out on Sunday and Pate said the 40,000-square-foot warehouse he has in Hamtramck is already filling back up.
The local business owner started making arrangements to hand-deliver medical supplies after he received an urgent message from a children’s hospital in Lviv a few days ago, pleading for pediatric medical equipment.
“Hundred kids are injured in bad conditions,” Pate quoted from the hospital’s message on social media.
“Catheters are rare right now and needed in big volumes.”
“Within an hour or two I got 5,000 catheter sets, pediatric sized and endless amounts of donated medical and surgical supplies for the children’s hospital,” Pate said.
He filled 11 oversized bags and flew with the items over to Europe, intent on delivering the items himself.
Pate is currently traveling through east Poland, where he will meet an escort at the border and bring the supplies to Lviv. He said while this trip brings much needed aid to this hospital, there is a massive need for all kinds of items and donations are being accepted.
In addition to medical supplies and protective gear, Pate is gathering coats, boots, MREs, camping supplies, and more.
“We’ve got seven drop off points throughout Detroit Metro area and one down in Adrian, Michigan,” he said.
Two locations publicly listed are:
Saint Clair shores, MI 48080
4373 N Adrian Hwy M-52
Adrian, MI 49221
Pate regularly posts to his social media about items that are needed with additional information about his efforts.