TW: descriptions of war
I need to take a moment to relay an ongoing story of hope and kindness to start this new year off. I haven’t written about it prior to this, honestly because I wanted to protect the people involved. Some of the folks that we used to work with are still operating in sensitive areas, so it’s an ongoing consideration. One such person we remain in contact with is operating in Ukraine at the time that I’m writing this post.
Brandon Mitchell arrived in Ukraine around the same week in April 2022 that we landed in Poland. He liquidated a safe and secure life in western Europe to purchase an ambulance and drive into a fresh war zone intent on providing help. He weathers regular shelling, bears witness to horrific actions and is increasingly shown the depths to which humanity can sink.
While evacuating civilians from their homes, Brandon’s original vehicle was destroyed when he struck an anti-personnel mine which blew him into another one. His mind and body can’t help but be shaken and battered, yet his updates always show a man of compassion and caring. He regularly feeds the domestic cats and dogs that are now roaming the streets having been left behind by fleeing families. He brings chocolate to children, and eases nerves with cigarettes and a smile. If he’s managed to read my writing this far, he’s no doubt shifting uncomfortably in his seat. The reason being, he’s not in this fight for medals or patches, country or fame. He’s placed himself between innocence and evil for the sake of basic humanity.
Brandon started a generator campaign in the summer to provide power to frontline medical units and aid stations. He saw firsthand, delicate surgeries being performed with headlamp flashlights. Not only were people dying needlessly, they were dying preventable deaths with obvious solutions: generators.
Generators provide the best bang for the buck, with lifesaving impacts. They provide light, heat and the chance to charge a device or radio that keeps families in contact with each other. Here in Canada, Strayboar started to talk to individuals in our community who could help raise money quietly. People like Shelley Young, owner and operator of Moontown Market and her amazing patrons, who provided the cost of an entire generator this summer. A generator that’s still running a world away, helping to directly save and improve lives.
So far we’ve been able to provide three generators from our little community on the east coast. I am profoundly humbled by this community and its kindness. We’re resolute in our determination to continue raising money and awareness for Brandon, and the people that need our help. A deep thank you to all the businesses and individuals that have opened themselves to the Strayboar push for peace.
Three gents in the midst of shifting gears focused on tenets of adventure, comradery, peace, good food and the pursuit of artistic purpose.