Standing before a large, hanging American flag, Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling urged employees and friends of the health system to provide whatever assistance they could to ease the suffering of the people of Ukraine.
Flanked by several employees of Ukranian descent at the health system’s Integrated Distribution Center in Bethpage, LI, Mr. Dowling noted that 28 pallets holding 18,000 pounds of supplies valued at $160,000 had already been packed up for immediate shipment to the war-torn region.
He explained that Northwell, at the direction of Ukraine’s government, is sending a shipment of humanitarian aid that will be used to care for those injured during combat.
“In coordination with the Ukranian consulate and a global shipping provider, these vital supplies will ship out tomorrow by air and will arrive in eastern Poland, where they will be met by Ukranian soldiers who will transport them to the front lines,” he said.
Noting that March 4th is otherwise known as “Do Something Day,” Mr. Dowling said, “Because of the immediate need in Ukraine, we have a moral obligation to do more than something. We must do everything that we can to help ease the suffering of these people.”
Also on hand with impassioned appeals for help were Evelina Grayver, MD, director of Women’s Heart Health; Oleysa Gavryluk, MSN, a nurse at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens; Eugene Holuka, MD, and Dasha Karelina, who both work at Staten Island University Hospital.
Each employee spoke of their family’s historical roots in Ukraine; Ms. Karelina and Ms. Gavryluk still have family members there who refuse to leave their homeland. Each spoke movingly of their connection to their country and the courage of the Ukranian citizens who choose to live in freedom without submission to a foreign government.
Representing Ukraine’s government, Colonel Volodymr Shcherban, deputy military adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine at the United Nations, was on hand to thank Northwell for its commitment. “It is hard not to become emotional after witnessing my countrymen’s acts of bravery and defiance against all odds,” Colonel Shcherban said. “You are helping to save thousands of lives and Ukraine will never forget your support.”
Noting that the Ukranian army and civilians alike have risen to the challenge of war, he added, “Our people want a future where war is definitively a thing of the past and no one has to go through the horrors of night bombardments or losing their close ones on a government’s order.”