(WTNH) – Konstantin Tartakovsky may have lived in the U.S. for the past 25 years, but his home has always partly been in Ukraine, where he spent his childhood.
Tartakovsky was 11 years old when he left his hometown of Kremenchuk, Ukraine. Much of his extended family, such as his aunt and uncle, still live in the country.
When the war with Russia broke out, Tartakovsky’s first thoughts were to his family, who lived just across the street from the mall that was attacked. His uncle and aunt were shopping in that mall just a mere three to four hours before the missile struck it, he said.
But in addition to supporting his family, Tartakovsky wanted to know what else he could be doing to help others in Ukraine.
As a firefighter of 17 years, having spent over 11 at the Meriden Fire Department, he knew that old firefighter gear could go a long way in the wake of bombings.
“I figured that we have gear that is in good condition but is no longer NFPA compliant that the firefighters in Ukraine could still use. And an idea was born to donate 20-30 sets from MFD and TCFD,” said Tartakovsky in a statement to News 8.
Once he had his plan, Tartavosky set out to start gathering more supplies. He turned to social media to spread his idea, as well as sending out emails, calling other departments, and talking to friends.
Now, he has collected items from 22 departments that want to support Ukraine.
More than that, the donations have expanded in what they’re sending to Ukraine. Now, pants, coats, air packs, rope rescue equipment, and extraction tools have been sent to defend Ukrainians.
Pictured above is Tartavosky’s second delivery to Ukraine. This includes over 30 complete sets of firefighter gear, 28 air packs with 84 cylinders, hand tools, one chainsaw, and medical supplies (including tourniquets, surgical gowns, pressure bandages for gunshot wounds, etc.).
Tartavosky said that to date, he’s collected over five tons of items, and the first donation he sent back in June is already in the hands of Ukrainian firefighters.
For anyone who is interested in donating to the cause, Tartavosky can be reached on his social media page, @GetUkrainian on Instagram and Facebook. He hopes that with your help, he will make a third donation to Ukraine.