GLEN COVE, Nassau County (WABC) -- Sixty tons of medical supplies are on their way to help Ukraine, thanks to the tireless efforts of an FDNY lieutenant.
Lt. Bill Patsakos, from Ladder 146 in Brooklyn, says a Cornell University graduate student who is familiar with his humanitarian work reached out to him.
Patsakos collected donations with the help of the St. Josaphat Ukrainian Basilian Monastery, Northwell Health, NYC Hemophilia Chapter, The Coalition for Hemophilia B, and Save One Life and Hope Worldwide.
"There are sleeping bags, there are protective vests and other information that will help these firefighters," Patsakos said. "This is the first time since World War II where on this scale, firefighters are being called on to do search and rescue while being shot at and being hit with artillery."
He then partnered with a Ukrainian shipping company to get the supplies transported from New York to refugee camps and into Ukraine.
"We're going to bring it to New Jersey to a Ukrainian shipping company that's going to fly it there, free of charge," he said. "We're actually outfitting civilian military. That is civilians acting as military, so they don't have enough materials to fight the wars."
Members of the FDNY helped pack up the supplies in Glen Cove Monday morning to ready them for shipping.
"I have two cousins that are fighting right now," Patsakos said. "And they told me what they need, and I'm sending that, and they're going to spread everything."
Since the war began, the donation drive has scaled up to a full blown logistics operation. Three times a week, whoever is available will inventory and pack a labor of love, in it for the log haul.
"It's really devastating, and once this is done, they will have to rebuild," Patsakos said. "Because there's nowhere to live, and Ukrainians want to go back to Ukraine."
Patsakos says helping people, especially whose with medical needs, is important to him because he has three sons with rare blood disorders.
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