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Volunteer reflects on weeks in Ukraine

Daniel Griffin spent 11 weeks in Ukraine working to rebuild medical facilities and help in other humanitarian efforts.

SWOYERSVILLE, Pa. — Daniel Griffin's bed for the last 11 weeks was inside a school gymnasium while he was building sanitary medical facilities in Ukraine.

"Then my role kind of changed into logistical where I helped set up transportation, met people that needed to get in — medical staff and refugees and volunteers," Griffin explained after returning home to Swoyersville.

Griffin says it wasn't easy to witness a lot of what he saw traveling through the country as a volunteer.

"There's the shells that had fallen there, shells that had fallen in the area. As you travel, you would see plumes of smoke, and you would hear explosions that would shake the ground," he added.

Then he'd be faced with the aftermath and had to obey martial law.

"There's curfews, there's checkpoints, you're subject to search. There's no constitution there. They can search you, you know, completely, your vehicle completely. The general of the army basically controls it. If he decides that they need vehicles, your vehicle can be taken off you, diesel fuel in the vehicle because most of them are diesels."

He says despite the hardship, he's returned home to Swoyersville with a new sense of appreciation.

Griffin can't immediately return to Ukraine to continue his work because of travel visa regulations, but he'd like to. He's made a powerful bond with the very grateful Ukrainians he's been working with.

"They're not going to let themselves be pushed around. Incredible people, the resolve is what really gets you because no matter what happens, they move things out of the way and start making something out of it," explained Griffin.

Griffin says until he can return, he'll work on efforts here at home to support Ukraine in any way he can.

RELATED: Swoyersville man lends a hand in Ukraine

See more videos on our area's connection to the Crisis in Ukraine.  

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