5 April 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota father who traveled overseas to help with humanitarian aid calls the experience is rewarding.
It’s been a busy two weeks since Brady Atherton landed in Poland. He committed to volunteering with a private organized group of veterans who all felt called to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
“Our group has been facilitating certain extractions and humanitarian aid in southern Poland and along the border of Ukraine as well,” Atherton said.
The Army National Guard veteran recalls a trip to the Ukraine border.
“Air raid sirens, buildings being [shaken] … just absolute chaos,” Atherton said.
He works logistics, and says some of their original mission has changed. They’ve been called to provide security for women and children as they come into the country, to ensure they make it to refugee camps.
“Just to be here and show protection over these women and children coming into the train station,” Atherton said.
They will also provide security at the camps, and have played with children there.
“Good to see smiles on their faces after what they’ve probably just went through leaving the country,” Atherton said.
Most nights he says Polish people and refugees march together to demand an end to the war.
“It’s a pretty powerful deal to see people who don’t even speak the same language, but they know they’re sharing the same cause,” Atherton said.
Atherton says he knows he’s where he’s supposed to be right now. But his fiancé and baby in Minnesota are never far from his mind.
“I’ll be ready to be home when I’m home,” Atherton said.
He’s scheduled to be in Poland for another six weeks.