Russia-Ukraine war: NW Indiana veteran headed to Ukraine on humanitarian mission hatched in a week

MUNSTER, Ind. (WLS) -- A former US Army soldier living in Munster, Indiana who's been on multiple deployments to Iraq is bringing his expertise and skillset in the most trying of conditions to help fleeing Ukranian refugees as Russian attacks continue.

"It's been a whirlwind six days," said Loren Buchmeier. He's packing light, for now: a few basic supplies including clean, dry socks, for a humanitarian mission hatched in less than a week.

SEE ALSO | Fire out, no radiation released at Ukraine's key nuclear plant amid Russian attacks
"In the worst of conditions, you find the best in humanity," he said.

Just days after Russia invaded Ukraine, as refugees started to flee west, retired Army Military Police Officer Loren Buchmeier said he was compelled to help.

Buchmeier started Human Kind Fund Not for Profit with a mission to "use my experience to get there and procure supplies and equipment and actually run it somewhat like a military operation."

Not just with donations. He has a plane ticket to Budapest, and is leaving Monday to travel to the Slovakian border with Ukraine.

"People willing to buy a plane ticket and go, and basically crowdfund this whole mission. And purchase what we need on the ground," he said.

RELATED | How to help Ukraine amid Russian attacks

Already with a small network of volunteers in Europe that he knows from his time stationed in Germany, Iraq, and serving overseas, Buchmeier said he and his team of about six people will be on the ground in a matter of days.
"It does make us a lot more nimble, a lot more quick to respond," he explained. "We could go there immediately and provide direct aid and comfort to the ever-increasing flow of refugees that are coming across the border."

His wife Alisa is giving her full support.

"I'm stressed, I'm worried," she said. "The idea of him being able to help people in need. There's been people like Loren throughout history who just pick up and go."

The man who has responded to crisis his entire adult life is now doing it again.

"I don't think we're going to get there and find out they don't need us," Buchmeier said. "I think it's just gonna, the need will exponentially increase."

Buchmeier hopes to start with a three-week mission and cycle more volunteers through to help after that.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.