A South Bay EMT has returned to the Bay Area after a month of volunteering in Ukraine.
NBC Bay Area spoke with Clayton Boyer at his home in Boulder Creek on Friday, hours after he flew back from the Ukraine-Poland border.
Boyer is an emergency tech at Good Samaritan in San Jose and also works for the state’s Medical Reserve Corps.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, he started applying for volunteer positions – to go.
“Help, make a difference. To try to be something bigger,” Boyer said. Boyer has spent the past month using his medical skills to help at a Polish hospital and a children’s hospice with Ukrainian refugees.
“Immediately, I was assigned to 40 different Ukrainian families. About 165 people. Most of them are children, to check their daily medical needs,” he said. He said some families were scared – and trusted no one because of shared Russian propaganda to make them fear aid workers.
“They were very reluctant to ask for help with anything, but they were also very grateful. And over the weeks I was there, those families learned to trust me,” Boyer said.
Boyer said he also helped coordinate and deliver supplies to border checkpoints hosting refugees, where it was clear the world was watching and wanted to help. “
At one point, there were 107 big trucks, 18-wheelers that came to deliver donated goods from around the world, clothes, pet food, baby supplies, medicine,” he said. -he declares. Boyer took this photo of strollers given to families who left with nothing.
The UN said more than 5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
Boyer said he plans to return in July. He hopes others won’t forget the atrocities happening right now and asks people to do their part – where they can.
“Even a $5 donation, they need it because it will take years or decades before Ukraine can rebuild,” he said.