Suburban volunteer sends plane full of donations to Ukrainian refugees in Poland

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- A small plane filled with much-needed supplies donated by hundreds of Illinoisans took off from the Aurora Municipal Airport Tuesday on the way to Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Rene Koehler, a local volunteer with Crisis Response International, said she posted a list of items she needed when heading overseas in the Next Door app, and the community response was incredible.

"It just kept coming and coming and the people that couldn't drop off, I met hundreds literally hundreds of people at my front doorstep. One night I couldn't even get into my porch," she said.

She hosted six packing parties. Complete strangers attended.

"The majority of this is medical unfortunately that's really what they need. So combat medical kits, IVAC kits, trauma kits, survival emergency blankets, lanterns, a lot of places don't have electricity," Koehler said.

The filled more than two dozen duffle bags with supplies that took off from Aurora Municipal Airport to JFK Airport in New York City, where they will continue on to Poland.

Airline company Revv Aviation donated its plane to make the delivery happen. They were contact last week and quickly retrofitted the plane to accommodate the cargo.

"Our very small way of being involved in this much bigger thing and that's providing some help to people who really need it," said Guy Lieser, CEO of Revv Aviation. "It's very gratifying to be a part of something like this. We all have been sitting in front of our TVs and watching this on the news and watch it all day long wondering what can we possibly do to help. And this is just a very small way but a very powerful way and how we can be of assistance here in our community."

"This is what I can do. And this is what the community can do. And they say you're so great, but I say they're so great," said Koehler.
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