PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — A Portland man spent two months overseas helping Ukrainians impacted by the Russian invasion, and he’s already preparing to go back.
Dylan Hull said he felt a calling when the Russians invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“I was overcome with feelings of anger, frustration and feelings of helplessness,” he said. “It was at that point that I started thinking to myself, I wonder if there’s some way I can get involved.”
Hull heard about volunteers helping refugees along the Polish-Ukrainian border and decided he wanted to help.
“I bought my ticket and I didn’t have much of a plan at the time, but I knew I’d figure it out,” he said.
He started on the border in Poland before continuing into Ukraine. He, along with other volunteers, delivered medical supplies, water and food to people in cities that have suffered heavy shelling.
“It was something I’ll never forget. I just saw so much destruction. I walked through a high school in Kharkiv that was completely destroyed. The entire high school,” he said.
The cause is dear to his heart, but so is the way he’s funding his mission — through the money his father left him when he passed away two years ago.
“He always taught when I was growing up to help those that were less fortunate than me. It was a huge thing for him. So when this war started, I had this opportunity to volunteer. I thought, maybe I could really use this money for something good.”
After about two months in Ukraine, Hull returned to Portland in mid-June. But his return won’t last long. After fundraising with friends and family in town, he’s preparing to fly back on a one-way ticket on Monday, July 4, to continue helping people.
“I found something that I am incredibly passionate about, which is doing this volunteer work, and it’s brought a lot of meaning in my life.”
His mission also introduced him to his girlfriend Valeria, who lives in Ukraine. They met while volunteering in the city of Lviv. Together, they are raising money for additional resources for people who need them most.
“To be able to help so many people there at the most desperate time of their lives has been an experience of a lifetime,” Hull said.