Heritage Health counselor returns from Ukraine, raises $100k for evacuees

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Credit: Heritage Health

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — A Heritage Health counselor recently returned from a six-week volunteer mission in Ukraine and raised more than $100,000 for evacuees.

The counselor, Jared Malone, was a former enlisted Marine and served two combat tours in Iraq. Malone assisted in evacuating Ukrainian families from towns shelled by artillery and missiles and spent five days and nights in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

“We accomplished a lot,” Malone said. “But there is so much work that needs to be done. This effort is just the beginning of the journey. Ukraine is a total warzone.”

The $100k in funding came mainly from social media posts, and will help fund a new 5,000-square-foot shelter and buy food for evacuees. The building provides sleeping space, kitchens, and showers.

Malone also delivered medical supplies from Heritage Health to Chevnihiv, a city located in northern Ukraine.

“Some of the worst fighting was in Chevnihiv,” Malone said. “I am grateful Heritage Health was able to help.”

Malone also created a food delivery system that’s feeding hundreds of families.

“I learned so much from this experience,” said Malone. “It is a lot different being in a city facing encirclement and constant bombardment than serving in combat. I wasn’t there to fight a war and I had to remind myself of that during difficult situations. Yes, I was frustrated that I couldn’t do more, but I realized that none of the important work I was there for would get done if I died.”

Malone also used his experience and education to teach about 200 religious and community leaders a trauma class.

“Everyone in Ukraine is experiencing trauma,” he said. “If you approach people the wrong way, it can worsen that trauma. My objective was to teach them how to communicate with people and what to look for when they see children behaving a certain way.”

Malone helped establish Project Victory, a nonprofit organization founded by Idaho veterans to provide humanitarian aid to people in high-conflict regions. The group plans to send another team to Ukraine soon with medical supplies and food. You can donate to Project Victory here.

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