Michigan volunteers assemble trauma kits for Ukrainian soldiers

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Hamtramck — Oleksandr "Sasha" Tkachenko is exhausted from driving through the night to Chicago where he met with a collective assembling trauma kits for Ukrainian soldiers.

There, he gathered with volunteers, watched their process, traded essentials and drove home to a warehouse in Hamtramck in time to meet 50 volunteers Saturday to replicate the process, locally.

Tkachenko, originally of Ukraine and who serves as operation lead of the warehouse, said their team of independent volunteers assembled 300 individual soldier trauma kits last weekend and another 115 kits Saturday. The humanitarian aid volunteers came from across Metro Detroit.

Separately, they made dozens of field medic kits filled with gauze, bandages, scissors, pain relievers, alcohol wipes and tourniquets to stop gunshot wounds. 

Volunteers pack individual first aid kits.

The individual kits cost $90 each and the medics’ kits cost upwards of $500 a piece.

The kits will be expedited to Poland, where they'll find their way through an entry port near east Ukraine. The effort is much larger than Michigan, Tkachenko said.

"That's why I went to Chicago. Their effort is bigger and they've been doing this longer. We were able to trade stuff each other didn't have and compare the process to work efficiently," he said.

A detail of tourniquets and other medical equipment.

The group has bought out supply stores and Amazon outlets and is looking for more supplies to assemble for the coming months.

"We don't know how long this will last. We have to continue to do this," he said. "The thing is, we discussed with our soldiers and aside from weapons, trauma kits are in most need."

Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian troops of committing war crimes against thousands of civilians during the conflict, which entered its 52nd day Saturday.

Volunteers pack individual first aid kits, Saturday afternoon, April 16, 2022.

Earlier this week, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Detroit Police committed to sending 165 unused bullet-proof vests to Ukrainian soldiers with intentions to send more.

Assembling the kits goes by within a few hours Saturday, with the help of the volunteers, who are trained and instructed by former United States military combat medics on proper assembly instructions and contents.

Sasha Tkachenko adds another tourniquet to this platoon medic's kit, Saturday afternoon, April 16, 2022.

The kits come in a camouflage-printed backpack with a large red cross. They're in need of more Cel+X-A, CAT Tourniquets, gauze compression packs, and HyFin Vent chest sealer for those in respiratory distress, he said.

"This was not supposed to happen but we have to thank all of our independent volunteers, especially everyone from Detroit," he said. "For sure, we'll continue to do this, but we don't know for how long."


Twitter: @SarahRahal_