Boyd Byelich has made multiple trips to Poland and Ukraine in the past year, and he just returned from his Christmas trip overseas. He spent three weeks there, delivering food and clothing to people in Ukraine.
“The support locally in northeast Michigan has been incredible, and because of all of the donations and clothing, and funds to help ship it, we’ve been able to send 220 boxes so far,” said Byelich.
Byelich made donation runs in Russian occupied areas of Ukraine, and had to wear a helmet and protective gear in order to safely make the donations. He said even when the people of Ukraine hear the air raid sirens, people will just go on about their day.
“To me, that’s the ultimate sign of resistance, as well as I think victory,” he said. “Their will cannot be stopped.”
Byelich has gotten to know people in Ukraine and he’s received fanfare from the people since returning. He doesn’t do it for that, but the feeling is still rewarding.
“They’re so grateful, they’re so appreciative, it’s very emotional, they just want to touch you, like they can’t believe somebody actually cared enough to show up there. That’s the impression I got, and that’s what led me to think, ‘Has anybody else even been here yet?’ just kind of crazy,” he said.
Byelich is now back in northeast Michigan, and is still taking donations for his next trip overseas. He says his house is still full of boxes, but appreciates the support of everyone who has donated and made it possible for him to help those in Ukraine who need it.
“You people deserve all the thanks really; I just get to be the messenger,” he said. “So I get to do the fun stuff, you know, take it in person, hand stuff out, or go over there and network with people, but if it wasn’t for everyone here helping, then there wouldn’t be anything to send, so I’m just very thankful for that.”