May 25, 2024

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War in Ukraine: A “hero” with his super basket

War in Ukraine: A “hero” with his super basket

Armed with precious groceries, a Quebec has been helping desperate refugees carry their luggage to the border between Ukraine and Poland 10 hours a day since last Monday.

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“You do not always have to do extraordinary things to reach people,” said Patrick Crevier, 54, who gives them a balm.

Since last Monday, the man has discovered an extraordinary mission to help Ukrainian refugees: he helps them carry their luggage.

Every morning, he goes to Medica on the Polish-Ukrainian border and finds precious groceries.

“When you have a basket, you never leave it. Otherwise, in a couple of seconds, someone will take it from you! “He promises.

One woman he helped, Svetlana, even called him a “hero” and it shook him.

“Her husband died in Ukraine, her son returned to fight, I am his hero …”, says a pharmacist.

50 to 60 km walk

Throughout the day, Mr. Crevier goes back and forth between the two countries. He walks 50 to 60 kilometers a day.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s hard to stop. How do I get back to the hotel when people are waiting? “, He asks.” But at one point, I had no choice, my body was telling me! […] We go to a mountain towards Ukraine. Tylenol and Adville will be fine at night! ⁇

“But it’s very fruitful,” the man with the yellow bag agrees.

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A resident of Mont-Saint-Hilaire in Montérégie, he had been looking for a way to help the Ukrainians since the beginning of the war. Although he had no experience in humanitarian aid and no contacts in the area, he flew in on March 19th.

“I could have paid, but I found it too far away. I was resourceful, I thought I had to do something,” he says.

A long walk

“There are no bosses here. Initiative is needed, he notes. There are those who play as volunteers, but do not do much. ⁇

A boy used a grocery basket to rest his feet when crossing the border into Poland.

Courtesy Image

A boy used a grocery basket to rest his feet when crossing the border into Poland.

When Ukrainian refugees arrive at the Polish border (by car, bus or train), they have to walk more than a kilometer with their children and luggage before reaching the customs.

Mothers often have their hands full, and a basket of groceries is no exception. The wait to get through the toll booth can take more than three hours.

After arriving in Poland, he takes the refugees on foot to Medica, where they take a bus to another Polish city, 14 km away.

“I try to guide them,” he says, breaking the language barrier.

Return to Ukraine

In addition, Mr. Krevier goes with Ukrainians who want to return to their country for all sorts of reasons.

“Poland does not know them. They have no plan, no money. As long as they do not know, they will just want to go home. Others regret leaving.”

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Customs officials are tolerant, even if they pass the customs twice in each direction (for each country).

Patrick Crevier stamps his passport every time he travels between Poland and Ukraine.

Courtesy Image

Patrick Crevier stamps his passport every time he travels between Poland and Ukraine.

“They’re starting to know me! The passport is ultra stamped,” he says.

Mr. Crevier was taking his plane to Canada today. Although he wants to stay for a long time, he only keeps positive things. “When you find the impact [causé par le fait] Helping people is hard to win, “he said.