NAPLES, Fla. — Many organizations in Southwest Florida have sent aid to Ukraine since the country was invaded by Russia. But after seeing images like these of the war-torn country, two local men are actually going there to help.
“I saw a picture of a little girl who died over there. It definitely pulled on my heartstrings a little bit,” said Cape Coral resident Shea Hambling. “I just got to thinking, ‘What can we do?’”
Shea Hambling, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, decided to take action.
The 39 year old and his best friend Alex Gorski, who owns Creative Computer Solutions in Cape Coral as well as another business with Hambling, are on the way to Ukraine to help on the front lines.
“We’re actually going there for humanitarian aid,” Gorski, 29, said. “We’re trying to get as much equipment food, medical supplies, body armor, whatever it takes to help the civilian populace there. Whatever we can do to help, that’s what we’re going there to do.”
The two found their way to Ukraine through the help of nonprofit World of Connections. That group has worked to provide aid to former Soviet countries since 2017.
However, director Rita Shteynberg said the World of Connections is used to sending medical supplies and food — not people.
“I tried to talk them out and say, ‘It’s not pretty picture, it’s war.’” Shteynberg said. “They have family here. It’s breaking my heart that our boys are putting their lives on the line for this war, but I am so proud to know them. They are incredible guys.”
Hambling and Gorski raised nearly $4,000 through their website Southwest Florida Warriors. They used the money to buy military gear for the fighters in Ukraine.
Hambling and Gorski flew to Poland with the gear on Monday. They said they were scheduled meet with officials from the Ukrainian Embassy who are going to take them across the border into Ukraine.
“We’ll be stationed with one of international battalions,” Hambling said. “What we’re going to be doing, we don’t really know. We don’t really find out until we get there.”
Hambling has a wife and four kids. Gorski has a wife. They don’t know how long they’ll be in Ukraine, but both said they’re at peace with the decision to go and do what they feel is right.
“Just the simple ‘Thank you’s’ I’ve gotten, that awesome,” Gorski said. “I didn’t need any of it, didn’t ask any of it. If it wasn’t for raising funds to get more supplies, I would have gone (to Ukraine) without any peep of my name.”
Added Hambling: “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘The definition of courage is being afraid of something and still doing it.’”
Hambling and Gorski said they hope to post updates on their website from Ukraine while continuing to raise money for supplies.