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Local man volunteering in Ukraine with medical battalion

Dan Rebar, a local Air Force veteran, traveled to Ukraine in April
Posted at 2:02 PM, May 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-08 14:02:32-04

(WXYZ-TV) — Air Force veteran Dan Rebar is expecting to be doing a lot more healing than fighting in Ukraine, but he's prepared for both.

“You know it’s a reality that’s given to you to be sure," he said of chances he'll face combat.

Rebar first traveled to Ukraine in April.

With the help of a local group, United Support for Ukraine, Dan delivered vital medical supplies to Ukraine by way of Poland. Once in Kyiv, Dan had plans to join an international legion of foreign fighters, comprised of military veterans from around the globe.

Instead, he's joined a volunteer medical battalion which in a matter of days will deploy a few hours east of Kyiv.

He's part of a four man ambulance team. He'll work as a paramedic helping injured Ukrainian troops.

“We’re assigned to ambulances, combat ambulances and go out to the front.” 

We Zoomed with Dan not far from his barracks in downtown Kyiv.

Dan speaking with Action News via Zoom from Kyiv

“It’s very real fights going on. While we’re talking you may hear an air raid siren here. They come fairly frequently," he said, pointing out Saint Sophia Cathedral over his shoulder.

RELATED | Local Air Force veteran heads to Ukraine to fight Russia's invasion

Dan's first deployment comes on the heels of a stark warning from the Biden Administration after a former U.S. Marine, Willy Cancel, was killed fighting overseas in Ukraine. Cancel is believed to be the first American killed during this conflict.

“We know people want to help. But we do encourage Americans to find other ways rather than traveling to Ukraine to fight there," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week.

It's estimated more than 20,000 foreign soldiers from more than 50 countries are volunteering to to fight in Ukraine.

Dan's mission is open-ended. He said despite the realities of being in a war zone, he is happy he made the choice to travel to Ukraine, where the response from Ukrainian soldiers has been filled with gratitude.

“It’s not just the soldiers. It’s the people. It’s the old men and women in the streets, it’s the children," he said.

“Everyone is so brave and so courageous. And they live their lives in the face of this and they keep their spirits up. They’re incredible people.”

Dan helped volunteers with United Support for Ukraine to pack hundreds of military grade medic bags, which he brought with him to Ukraine. The group is still in need to supplies to make more. Click here if you'd like to support their efforts.