Ukrainian soldiers come to Minnesota for prosthetics, hope

2022-08-05 20:44:08 –

On the night of the war, it felt like time stood still. Dr. Yakov “Jacob” Gradinar, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 2007, couldn’t take his eyes off the news: bombs, and more bombs. He called his parents in the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia. They told him that a bomb had hit Lviv just 120 miles away.

Gradinar pleaded with his parents and four siblings to leave home. But it’s not.

In despair, Gradinar prayed. In time, the former Ukrainian orthopedic surgeon, now a prosthetist in Minneapolis, will have an answer.

That same February night, 23-year-old Ukrainian Army Commander Maxim Shevchenko was also stunned. He was stationed in eastern Ukraine, near the Donbass region coveted by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Shevchenko ignored Putin’s saber clatter until Russian missiles flew overhead. One exploded next to him, amputating his left shin.

Shevchenko lay on the ground thinking about his parents, his sister and the girl he was going to marry. He found his left leg missing. For a while he didn’t care if he was alive or dead.

Then he saw a military friend. His friend crouched down and picked him up.

Nearly six months later, Shevchenko was sitting outside a coffee shop in downtown Minneapolis on a pleasant July evening. Four more Ukrainian soldiers were with him. Four of the five had lost one leg. A fifth lost both. Nearby, join others in the Ukrainian community in Minnesota to raise donations to appease American and Ukrainian leaders, break months of bureaucracy, and bring these men here. There stood Gradiner, his 46-year-old prosthetist at Rimlab, who figured out how. perfect their bodies.

These five are the first. There will be more soon. This week his 9 year old boy arrived who lost his arm. Saturday: He’s an 11-year-old boy who lost his leg. Later this month: An elderly Ukrainian couple from Bucha, the site of one of the most horrific massacres of the war by Russian forces. My husband has lost a leg.

And preferably more. Gradinar has a list of about 400 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians in need of prosthetic limbs. They found Online Prosthetics for Ukrainians, an organization he founded with Yury Arosidze, his 28-year-old Belarusian who lives in the Twin Cities.

As people sipped coffee and wine nearby, the soldiers smoked cigarettes and marveled at their new limbs. With the help of his wife, the man who had lost both his legs rose from his wheelchair and walked cautiously, slowly but surprisingly, given that he had put on his prosthetic two days earlier.

Shevchenko talked about when he lay on the ground and lost his leg, discussing life or death. At that moment, he had no idea of ​​his next journey: months in a Ukrainian hospital, then rehab, then a flight to Minnesota. In his terrifying beginning to a terrible war, he could not see the future, Shevchenko only saw his military comrades lifting him up.

“Then I realized, ‘I should stand, I should live,'” he said through an interpreter.

The war in Ukraine has turned the world upside down. devastated country. Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II has forced millions of Ukrainians from their homes. global food crisis. Skyrocketing energy costs. The Western coalition has been revitalized through wars where the lines between West and Russia, democracy and authoritarianism, good and evil couldn’t have been clearer.

Against the odds, Ukraine continues to fight. There is a war going on that many expected to last for days. With that comes a mind-boggling number of casualties.

Ukraine and Russia keep their casualty statistics tight, so estimates vary widely. To date he has killed over 11,000 Ukrainian combatants and civilians, an estimate based on the following data: Armed Conflict Places and Events Data Project considered conservative.of United Nations estimate Civilian casualties alone total more than 12,000, and the Ukrainian government says between 100 and 200 soldiers die every day.Recently U.S. intelligence agency estimates Russian casualties are said to be 75,000.

Gradinar focuses on more manageable aggregations. He is 395 Ukrainians who applied for his prosthesis.

Like a 9-year-old boy who arrived Wednesday, he lost an arm when his father and brother-in-law died in a rocket. He is the same age as Gradinar’s youngest twins.

Gradinard took the boy’s passport. He pointed to his birth year: 2013.

“It shocks you when you see it,” he said.

The war quickly revitalized Minnesota’s Ukrainian-American population, About 16,000+Several formed stands with Ukraine MN, Send It provides funds, medical aid, food and clothing to Ukraine, while engaging in advocacy and fundraising activities. sunday dinner with soldiers.

Mykola Sarazhynskyy, a university student from Ukraine who now lives in Plymouth and works in marketing, is horrified by the invasion. “I feel like a Mongol Tatar in the 1200s,” he said.

Worried about his mother and sister in Ukraine, he saw two options: fight or get help from here. From here he helped and became a major connector and fundraiser for the Ukrainian community in Minnesota. All found each other: Sarazhynskyy, Gradinar, Aroshidze. Jobs help the survivors process their guilt. Their support was comprehensive. They sent body armor, tactical medical supplies such as tourniquets and blood clotting agents, and negative pressure wound therapy devices to help amputees heal. The prosthetic project went viral in Ukraine after a post on his social media by Ukrainian comedian Viktor Hebko, who is close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Sometimes things seem to happen by chance, where people connect very quickly towards the same goal,” Sarajinski said.

The first five soldiers arrived Saturday night in late July. By Sunday morning they had re-learned how to walk. Two days later, they strode through downtown Minneapolis as passersby tried not to stare.

Mariupol’s 21-year-old Daniel Sivakov stood on his new two legs. His blue-green eyes peeked out from beneath a freshly cut baz from a Minnesota barber, and his face boasted a peach fluff.

On March 21, Russian drones spotted his unit in the Donbass trenches. It’s raining missiles. His friend who was next to him was killed.

He said walking felt like a miracle, even though his stump hurt. he enjoys America A meal at Fogo de Chao, his clinic running at the University of Minnesota, Turtle’s trip to his lake for tubing, a visit to Chicago, and a respite from the war years. His mother and his four-year-old brother are relatively safe in western Ukraine, but he worries about his soldier father. When Shivakov’s phone rings, he is afraid to answer the phone.

While the men were in Chicago, Gradinar and dozens of Ukrainians gathered in Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. The door opened and his nine-year-old boy burst in, full of energy. Artem, who lost his left arm, he is Fedorenko. His mother, Oksana Shpakovich, is thrilled with her son’s new arm. She doesn’t want him to be different from other boys. Artem is also excited. He loves Marvel movies. “He decided he was going to be Iron Man,” she said through her translator.

Outside a coffee shop downtown, Shevchenko, who lost his leg on the first day of the war, stands and sits, trying out his new leg. He believes in the karma that Putin will get justice.

For now, he’s enjoying a taste of America as Gradinar adjusts to his new leg. “No war,” he said, “at least for now.”

However, his medical leave soon ends and he goes home and into a war zone. He is going to the front line and fighting for his country.

“If you say you can’t be in the army, that’s the worst,” he said. “or will kill me ”

Ukrainian soldiers come to Minnesota for prosthetics, hope Source link Ukrainian soldiers come to Minnesota for prosthetics, hope

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