This article appeared in the September 20, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Driven to the front line by compassion

Courtesy of Joshua Curry
Joshua Curry (left) and fellow Task Force Yankee volunteer Page Ashwell deliver weekly food relief to families near Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Noelle Swan
Weekly Editor

Joshua Curry knew little about Ukraine when Russia invaded.

He just knew he had to get there.

The former Navy flight officer had served in the Persian Gulf and had seen firsthand what military conflict can do to civilian life. “I had to get involved and see what impact I could make,” he says in a telephone interview from Kharkiv, Ukraine. “The Ukrainians didn’t ask for this. They didn’t want this. All they want to do is live their lives.”

That compassion drove him to join Task Force Yankee, a loosely organized community of veterans and others who also yearned to offer practical support for Ukrainians. He has since made several trips to the region, first helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland, then helping to outfit soldiers on the front lines with first-aid supplies. 

Most recently, Mr. Curry has been in Kharkiv delivering bags of food to families in need. Community groups including the local Rotary Club help to identify where civilians are living in – or more likely, beneath – bombed out buildings. 

The day before our phone conversation, he helped deliver 20,000 pounds of food to needy families. He also witnessed a bomb blast that killed five people just a couple hundred feet away. “That’s a daily occurrence here,” he says. 

The risks are undeniable. He’s heard stories of volunteers being captured and tortured by Russian forces. Still, he resists the idea that what he is doing is courageous. It’s more a matter of living by his values.

“When you have a family in tears,” Mr. Curry says, “knowing that you’re giving them that push forward that they really need, being able to give them that hope, that’s all I need to keep myself going.”

This article appeared in the September 20, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/20 edition
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