SWOYERSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is a new update to a story Eyewitness News has been following for months. A Northeastern Pennsylvania man who ventured to war-torn Ukraine this summer to assist with relief efforts has now returned home.
Eyewitness News Reporter Madonna Mantione first met Dan Griffin, a Ukrainian Relief Effort Volunteer, in July as he was preparing to embark on a mission of a lifetime.
They stayed in touch virtually throughout his journey and he shared his story with me since his return back home in Luzerne County.
“I feel really good about being home,” Griffin said.
Griffin from Swoyersville spent four months volunteering in war-torn Ukraine.
The retired Kingston Police Officer was part of a Polish Humanitarian Relief Team rebuilding previously targeted and bombed-out areas.
“A lot of the locals began to really dig in and help towards the end, and it made a big difference and it just became a huge community project, not just something that we set out to do,” Griffin said.
Homes, buildings, and hospitals lay in ruins as the war against Russia wages on.
Griffin says the resilience of the Ukrainian people stuck out.
“These big tenement buildings, half of them were like blown off, the whole front of them, and there’s still people living in the other half that’s not destroyed. They drew pictures and put them in their windows, they’re not leaving,” Griffin said.
When he wasn’t putting his handyman skills to work, Griffin helped the Ukrainian people in any way he could.
“I also did medical supply runs where we would get medical supplies donated from Poland and transport them into Lviv. The friends and the people I met are really kind of like my extended family now,” Griffin said.
Griffin says he faced many challenges on his journey but his faith guided him through.
“I’ve been kept safe and I was sent there for a reason and I think that I’ve met that and I always will feel like I left it a better place than when I got there,” said Griffin.
Thanks to the generosity of his community, Griffin raised more than $6K to fund his relief mission.
He has his sights set on returning to Ukraine in the future to continue his efforts.