US Theology Professor Sends Thousands of Medical Supplies to Ukraine

Ukrainian professor Paul Gavrilyuk teaches theology at Saint Thomas University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Newsroom (April 21, 2022, 10:30 AM, Gaudium Press) The ties that bind Professor Paul Gavrilyuk to Ukraine are vital, making his heart bleed these days. A pain that has not remained passive, but has led him to found the association “Rebuild Ukraine”, which seeks to send medical supplies to this country – which has shown its strength but is being devastated by the Russian attack.

In Ukraine, he has relatives and academic colleagues who have given up their books and now wield a rifle to defend their country. Examples like these tempted Paul to go down this path, but now he is sure that his foundation is the best way to help Ukraine.

The origin of his association is not so recent, it began when the Russians invaded Ukraine to annex Crimea in 2015. Since then, he has sought to raise money to obtain essential supplies, such as tourniquets and prescription drugs, which he sends to hospitals in Ukraine.

However, with the war, the needs have increased and he now sleeps only four hours a day, dividing his time between teaching at Saint Thomas University, which he maintains, and the activities of rebuild Ukraine.

He proudly says that the association can send 5,000 tourniquets weekly to Ukraine.

“Basically, we asked ourselves, what product can we provide to maximize the chances of saving a life in Ukraine?” and that was the tourniquet. “We want to participate in God’s mission to save lives.”

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“We hope to send 10,000 more in the next month,” he pointed out. “Actually, talking about 1,000 wounded (Ukrainians) a day, that means that if I had 7,000 tourniquets to send to the country every week, I would be a very happy man.”

Volunteers in Ukraine and the US

The organization has 100 volunteers who live and work in the two main cities of Ukraine, mainly in Kiev. In the USA, there are 15 volunteers helping Professor Gavrilyuk.

They are also working on making bulletproof vests for civilians who are now soldiers. And in a finding that he considers providential, he has discovered that there are police departments – specifically in Wisconsin and Texas – that do not use some vests because they have become obsolete, but that they might be useful in his country.

His volunteers are also working on a product that has proven to be vital and very useful: beef jerky. In Ukraine, meat is abundant, so turning it into jerky is a real possibility. Professor Gavrilyuk spoke of one volunteer in particular, who lives in Ukraine and “is drying meat in her home (and) also hosting 20 refugees,” he reported. “And her young husband, 25 years old, is fighting (against the Russians). So the husband is fighting, the wife is taking care of 20 refugees and producing over 100 pounds of beef jerky a week for us.”

The professor also spends his time touring American cities raising funds. He also created the website rebuil-ua.org.

He is not Catholic, but Orthodox, however, Catholic authorities were amazed by his example and recorded his testimony in the local diocesan newspaper.

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The teacher continues, excited but regretful: “My elderly parents are now refugees. My great-aunt who is 98 years old … is a refugee now living in Lithuania …”

With CNS information.

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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