Medical Supplies Being Collected in Middletown for First Responders in Ukraine

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The spirit of community is going international with the Ukrainian Firefighters Equipment Drive in Middletown this weekend.

Hosted by Middletown’s South Fire District and co-sponsored by six organizations, the goal is to collect fire equipment and medical supplies in Connecticut to send over to Ukraine to help firefighters fight on the frontline.

"I was seeing the buildings in the background burning and bombings and I knew the firefighters were stressed and that’s exactly why I wanted to put together the supply drive," said Gary Wallace, the Director of Community Health Center Inc.

Wallace, a sponsor of the drive, said the idea came about during an online community meeting discussing creative ways the community could help.

"Being a veteran, I just have knowledge and experience about what’s going on in regards to trauma and being retired and things like that so I contacted South District Fire," said Wallace.

And the district answered the call.

Chief Trzaki describes the packages that have been pouring in and said there are some items that are still needed.

"They’ve been dropping off goods and equipment, firefighting equipment -- hand tools, personal protective equipment including helmets and boots and first aid supplies. We need first aid supplies. We need durable first aid supplies, trauma dressings, needles, syringes for the front line," said South District Fire Department Chief Jim Trzaski.

Several businesses and organizations in Middletown are sponsoring a medical equipment drive that supports firefighters in the Ukraine this weekend.

Items that are being collected include pain relievers, backpacks, bandages, first aid kits, medical gloves, antibiotic ointment, water-gel burn aid, compression bandages, medical adhesive tape, eye wash, CPR masks and safety glasses.

Dr. Katja Kolcio is a Wesleyan University professor who is not only a sponsor, but has been doing humanitarian work in Ukraine for nearly 10 years. She said the items collected at the drive will make a difference.

"The equipment, the body boards, the fire protective equipment, the medical supplies, they are simply not available anymore in Ukraine or in the surrounding countries. I think it’s what they need more than anything. There is not a single place in Ukraine that is safe. They need these supplies more than anything," said Kolcio.

Trzaski had a message for the firefighters in Ukraine.

"We just hope that any of the stuff can help in the least bit and our hearts go out to you and you are the most courageous firefighters we’ve ever seen," said Trzaski.

The drive will continue on Sunday April 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South District Fire Department.

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