Jonathan Brook, from Chula Vista, arrived in Kyiv last night to deliver surgical equipment and to try to bring his in-laws to San Diego County.
“I brought a total of eleven suitcases and duffel bags with urgent life-saving supplies,” Brook told Chula Vista Today from Ukraine.
The Ukraine House in Balboa Park collected this material through donations from the Ukrainian community in Southern California, especially in San Diego County.
The aid delivered this Saturday by Brook on behalf of the House of Ukraine includes dozens of kits with surgical materials.
Brook, a professional videographer experienced in humanitarian issues, lamented that the airline that transported him on March 21 from the San Diego airport to Warsaw refused to give a discount even though the material he brought was life-saving.
"They allowed us the regular weight of the first suitcase and the rest had to pay $290 for each suitcase or bag, very expensive, but it's worth it because we don't know how many people they will be able to keep alive thanks to this material," Brook said.
Brook also came to Kyiv on a mission to track down his in-laws—his wife is Ukrainian—to bring them to Chula Vista.
“They have taken refuge in his apartment in Kyiv. We are in contact every day,” he said.
The Russian army has artillery and air raids on some neighborhoods in Kyiv, and Brook's wife fears the Russians will close the roads to Poland, so the Chula Vista man hastened his mission.
“When we talked to them on the phone or on video, you could hear explosions rocking my in-laws' apartment,” she explained.
Brook called on San Diego County residents to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
He said those who want to help can contact the House of Ukraine in Balboa Park, which coordinates solidarity efforts from San Diego.