EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Russia’s war against Ukraine has raged on, now, for a grim six months.

Among those assisting with Ukrainian relief efforts in eastern Europe is a northeastern Pennsylvania man who is on a mission to make an impact.

Eyewitness News caught up virtually under much different circumstances with his journey well underway.

Madonna says, “Dan, it’s so great to see you.”
Dan responds, “Yeah, from far away lands.”

Dan Griffin, a Ukrainian relief effort volunteer, joined Madonna Mantione on a cellphone video call standing outside a travel plaza late there on a Saturday night in Krakow, Poland.

Behind him, the white van he uses to transport Ukrainian refugees across the border who are fleeing their war-torn country.

“It’s tough to see the suffering, but what’s really neat is the resolve of these people. They will not give up, and they don’t even really like to accept our help. We have to kinda jump right in, and then they’ll see that we’re determined to help them,” Griffin said.

It’s been more than a month since Mantione visited Griffin at his Swoyersville home before he embarked on this relief mission.

The retired Kingston police officer brought plenty of power tools and supplies with him to rebuild previously targeted and bombed-out areas.

“It really shocks you when you see it because of the structures, the infrastructure. It’s churches, schools, it’s roads and bridges and things that have really no military significance, it’s just sheer terrorism,” Griffin explained.

Griffin and other volunteers with a Polish humanitarian group spend their weekdays in Ukraine, and weekends in Poland.

Due to rising tensions in recent weeks, Griffin said only he and established volunteers are currently allowed in and out of Ukraine.

“It’s a lot more challenging than I thought it was gonna be, but that’s part of it, you gotta roll with it. Living conditions sometimes aren’t the best. We don’t have hot water a lot of the times until the weekend so, it’s tough,” Griffin stated.

Griffin said despite the danger, it’s worth it to help people in a part of the world he’s never been.

“It’s far from home, I miss my family, you know, I miss Wyoming valley, but it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than us and I’m part of it, I’m glad I’m here,” Griffin continued.

Griffin vows to continue his repair and rescue efforts until his mission is complete before returning home.

When Madonna Mantione asked him how long that will take, he said he’s unsure.

He only asked for one thing: pray for his safety.