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WNY firefighters donate gear for Ukraine

Posted at 11:24 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 23:24:33-05

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Fire boots, jackets, and pants, all being donated from the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Company and shipped to Ukraine.

“When we have extra, we give,” Tony Filipski said. “That’s what we do.”

“If we can help them in any little way,” Jim Havernick said. “That’s our way of helping.”

Tony Filipski and Jim Havernick from the Bellevue Fire District say when they realized they had extra equipment, making the decision to donate was easy.

“We’re all watching what’s going on and everybody is just as horrified by the events,” Filipski said.

“You see the firemen out there trying to put the stuff out, they’re in street clothes,” Havernick said.

Victor Zhybaj is chairman of The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church; he said the support has been incredible.

“We can’t believe how great this is,” Zhybaj said. “We’ve had the phones ringing like crazy.”

Zhybaj said the church has gotten donations from diapers to money to medical supplies; he said they plan to start shipping everything overseas by the end of the week.

“We are loading the containers with anything we can get,” Zhybaj said. “They’ve got a lot of medical supplies they’ll provide and items for refugees.”

He said anything you can do will help aide refugees and those fighting.

“Our support is not unlimited,” Zhybaj said. “There are limits to what we can do but what we can do, we’re going to.”

Zhybaj said he does not have family in Ukraine anymore but watching the war unfold has been heartbreaking.

“I don’t have words for it, I really don’t,” Zhybaj said. “My whole life I lived through listening to what took place back in those days and to see it happening again is unreal.”

If you want to get involved, there are several events at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church planned, starting with ‘Pierogis for Peace’ on April 3.

The church is also taking donations to ship overseas.

Zhybaj said someone will be at the church between four and eight each day to answer calls and receive anything you want to ship to Ukraine.