“This is just the beginning” | East TN veteran who brought medical supplies to Poland returns home safely

Larry Winters managed to get over $4,000 worth of medical supplies for Ukrainian troops, but says they need a lot more.

Knoxville, Tenn. – A US Navy and combat veteran helps soldiers fighting across the world in Ukraine. He flew to the Ukrainian border to get desperately needed medical supplies for the troops. Now he’s back in East Tennessee.

This mission was successful. But now, Larry Winders says the fight to help has only just begun.

After his first visit to the Ukrainian embassy in Poland, Winters said he was greeted by troops with open arms. He said medical supplies were being used faster than they were arriving and the situation was becoming dire.

“The more we help these people now, the less we have to do later. Now I appreciate our American troops,” Winters said.

Winters said he made the trip to help Ukrainians not only for them but also for his country.

“I’m afraid that Russia will enter Poland. That’s where those who are injured are helped and where the refugees are,” Winters said.

Thousands of soldiers from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division are stationed in Poland, about 30 miles east of Ukraine. Winters said he met one of the soldiers on his trip, who was from Kansas.

“I said, ‘How are you?’ He said: “We are in the armed count. We are ready. We know if he comes we’re going to have to fight. So they’re there and ready to fight if necessary.” Winters said.

Having fought in the Vietnam War, Winters feels his calling is to help those who have been injured get the medical help they need.

“Having been in combat and injured, I recognize and understand what it’s like to be there, scared, bleeding and worried about what’s going to happen to you,” Winters said.

Winters said the troops are supplied with food, blankets and most basic necessities. However, they don’t have enough medical supplies to save lives when time is of the essence.

“It all came out. So did this stuff,” Winters said, pointing to her stockpile of medical supplies soon to be shipped to her living room. “But there are no medical supplies. Any !

The warehouse he delivered medical supplies to in Poland was completely out of medical supplies when he arrived, he said.

“As soon as they come in, they go,” Winters said. “They were so excited that they started unboxing and packing their own box at that point. I said, ‘What’s up with that? They will send it tonight. And they brought those supplies straight to Ukraine that night,” he said.

People are being killed in Ukraine and he said many are dying because they don’t have supplies to stop infections.

“They don’t have alcohol or iodine swabs to clean the wound before they’re sutured,” Winters said. “Not just soldiers, but also civilians.”

The rate of infection, he says, is rapid.

Winters returned home with a list of supplies the troops desperately needed. He would like to continue collecting these medical supplies to ship them, but needs to find another method to send them. The cost of shipping medical supplies from the United States is high, he said.

Shipping medical supplies can be very expensive and difficult, he said, as customs sift through items during a war. This caused Winters to think of “Plan B”.

“What if we take the money we collect and buy the supplies in-country instead?” Winters said, going through her planning process.

He is working to team up with medical providers in Europe to cut out the middleman.

“We’re going to put the money to better use. Not wasting it packing and shipping it,” Winters said. “A box to send costs $500.”

The nonprofit he started, The Vets for Ukrainian Refugees Inc, said she needed help.

“It’s in our interest to do it now instead of doing it later for our own troops. We have to do it,” Winters said.

This vet is over 80 and says he can’t do it alone. Vets for Ukrainian Refugees will be holding a fundraiser at Chapman Highway Lowe’s located at 7520 Mountain Grove Dr, Knoxville, TN 37920 on Saturday.

Veterans of the nonprofit will be collecting donations during Lowe’s hours of operation.

Winters said anything big or small would help. Anyone interested can also make a donation at any time directly to the association. in line.

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