Five thousand miles from his Chicago home, Harrison Jozefowicz is still answering the call of service amid a war zone in Ukraine.
It’s been nearly two months since the Army-veteran-turned-Chicago-cop arrived in Ukraine.
“There are so many innocent lives all around,” Jozefowicz said.
The Chicagoan continues his humanitarian mission amidst the ongoing Russian-Ukraine conflict.
“Every time we help a Ukrainian in Ukraine, every time that we go to these more remote areas with these volunteers, some of them come up to you crying just because the last person they expected to see was an American volunteer in their country helping them with their war,” Jozefowicz said.
Jozefowicz served with the US Army with tours in Afghanistan and was a Chicago officer for three years. He quit the Chicago Police Department not long after the Russian invasion, volunteering with the group Task Force Yankee: Ukraine.
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The group now moves in to help after the Ukrainian military clears the way.
“You then identify people that have been under Russian occupation, who have been starving, so we’re trying to push food all over pretty much wherever is needed,” Jozefowicz said.
Donations, Jozefowicz says, are the key. Food, money, military, and medical supplies are all needed.
“Our supplies come from friends and family, us pushing wish lists to them and then them sourcing it at work or at school or what have you,” Jozefowicz said. “Some people take flights over with 30 bags, some people all pitch in to get it to get it palletized and get a 500-pound pallet sent over.
“Being from Chicago, it warms my heart because what we see is tremendous outpour of support still being seen here on the ground here in Ukraine.”
The military veteran says that he worries not only for the safety of the volunteers and the Ukrainians who’ve not left the country but for future food supplies.
Ukraine is an agricultural giant growing and exporting billions in crops— crops not being planted right now because of the Russian invasion.
Nonetheless, Jozefowicz says he continues to see compassion from those on the receiving end of their humanitarian efforts.
“They open up their homes to us. They open their dinner tables to us,” Jozefowicz said. “Of course, we try our best to not to be a strain on the system because we bring in so many food deliveries and whatnot but they just say, ‘You’re here. You guys are the ones being publicly viewed as making a difference.'”