Dover-Foxcroft man helps group provide aid and evacuations in Ukraine

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine – A Dover-Foxcroft man and a new nonprofit have pledged to provide essential aid to Ukraine as human suffering continues and war continues in parts of the country .

Joel Vail, a disabled veteran who works as the COVID-19 outbreak coordinator for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, joined ally extract as social media manager six months ago. The volunteer-run group – which formed in August 2021 to evacuate US citizens, Afghan interpreters and others from Afghanistan – was granted nonprofit status in early 2022.

As Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the organization’s team members, some of whom had personal ties to the country, felt called upon to respond. Privileged citizens in the United States have access to a glut of resources, they thought, and people across the ocean desperately need help.

UKRAINE — Allied Extract sponsors Bono Fortis, an orphanage in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine. Credit: Courtesy of Allied Extract

Allied Extract’s work has become more prominent as Ukraine’s tragedies have faded from much of the world’s attention.

Through its complex networks and partnerships, the group provides humanitarian and medical aid to Ukrainians in need, including orphanages. Allied Extract is also involved in the evacuation of civilians from besieged communities and helps transport seriously injured and ill patients from hospitals in eastern Ukraine to healthcare systems in other European countries.

Allied Extract had one of its members in Ukraine two days after the invasion and began organizing aid convoys, said Harvey Graham-Green, co-founder and former British Army soldier who completed three tours in Afghanistan. Aid went to places such as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Odessa and even Mariupol, which became a symbol of fierce Ukrainian resistance during weeks of relentless Russian attacks.

UKRAINE — A group of Ukrainians outside Dnipro receive food, water and other essentials from Allied Extract volunteers. The association supports communities in crisis, in particular Afghanistan and Ukraine. Credit: Courtesy of Allied Extract

“They are innovative and courageous people,” he said of the Ukrainians the group works with. “All they needed was supplies and they literally took care of the rest. It was like, OK, I’m going to do everything I can to get you everything I can.

Vail in Dover-Foxcroft manages Allied Extract’s social media channels. It raises awareness of the tragedies still unfolding in Ukraine and the difference that fresh food and water, medicine and other supplies are making for those trapped in dangerous areas.

Vail’s father and mother-in-law own Vail’s Custom Cakes & Icelandic Bakery in Dover-Foxcroft, which started fundraising for Allied Extract about six months ago and raised about $500. Residents also dropped off and sent clothes, toiletries and diapers.

An Allied Extract poster hangs in the window of Vail’s Custom Cakes & Icelandic Bakery. Credit: Valérie Royzman / BDN

That may not seem like a lot of money, Vail said, but he hopes to spread the word online and in the company to inspire other Mainers to contribute. Hel is ready to travel to other parts of the state to collect donations, he said. Like the other members of the Allied Extract team, he juggles many roles, even managing the bakery’s social media, but work feeds him.

“I wake up every day and know that even though I can’t see it firsthand, even though I’m not within 1,000 miles of the effort, there are people who finally feel safe,” said he declared.

The Allied Extract team is made up of 10 volunteers scattered across the country, according to its website. They work with a number of volunteers, including Ukrainians who know where help is most needed and Afghan refugees who deliver supplies across the border, among other military professionals.

Allied Extract provides coordination, funding and intelligence while working with the Mozart Band to rescue Ukrainians from frontline villages, mostly in the eastern Donetsk region, Graham-Green said. They operated in Severodonetsk until it fell to Russian forces.

Twice a week, volunteers — usually former Tier 1 special forces personnel from the US and UK, or Ukrainians familiar with the terrain — deliver supplies and evacuate civilians who wish to leave, a said Graham-Green.

“A lot of people who stayed, when they made that decision, there was no Russian tank at the end of their road,” he said, noting that volunteers meet deeply traumatized Ukrainians, most living in basements without electricity. and other necessities.

UKRAINE — Fresh fruit and vegetables en route to Ukrainians in villages outside Dnipro. Credit: Courtesy of Allied Extract

Allied Extract is also a partner of Artesans ResQ, volunteer medical professionals who coordinate the triage and transport of seriously injured patients to countries such as Poland and Germany. The association sponsors financially Bono Fortisan orphanage in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, and is delivering supplies to a handful of others, executive director Lydia Novruzov said.

Vail encouraged people to contribute, either financially or by sharing one of the organization’s posts on social media. To learn more or donate, visit Allied Extract’s website.

“What we’ve been good at is watching the people who solved part of the puzzle and watching the part we solved, and then coming together,” Graham-Green said, noting that it is crucial not to exhaust resources in a war-torn country.

Vail encouraged people to contribute, either financially or by sharing one of the organization’s posts on social media. To learn more or donate, visit Allied Extract’s website.

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