MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) — A Manitowoc realtor turned humanitarian helper is back from his second visit to Ukraine. Barry Nelson spent the last three weeks there helping to deliver supplies.
“You can’t even buy food if you can find it,” Nelson said.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Nelson says there is some hope on the horizon.
“We are actually seeing people going back,” he told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon. “Some of the trips were taking people into Kyiv versus taking them away from Kyiv.”
That’s a striking contrast to Nelson’s first visit to the country in March.
“To make what was kind of neat to see, you know I would think most of us would want to hurry up and get back home, as well, and see what was left,” Nelson said.
Donations from Wisconsin are finally starting to arrive in the war-torn country, he added.
“This was such a massive effort it was going to take time for organizations how to get supplies into Poland to get into the country,” added Nelson.
The devastation in Ukraine comes at many different levels.
“The Russians in these villages were tired of eating their rations, or didn’t have enough rations, so what they would do is just go through the entire village and steal all the food.”
Many times, Nelson said, it was much worse.
“They would send artillery shells just raining down on the village destroying it almost completely,” he said.
However, one thing Russians have not done is destroyed hope.
“The Ukraine people, they are doing just phenomenal things,” added Nelson. “I don’t think anyone expected them to defeat that tank column. I don’t think any of us think we’d be 70 days into this and still winning.”
It is also a situation that is becoming increasingly dangerous for those just trying to help.
“I had to come back a little early (from this trip) because Russia television is starting to announce the names of British nationals who are doing humanitarian aid work, like I have.”
Nelson says that has, and will not, stop the help getting to those who need it.