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Traverse City Native Helping with Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine

Trey Pflum, a Traverse City Native, is volunteering in Ukraine.

Pflum graduated from Traverse City Central High School in 2017.

He spent time in the Air Force and is now in Ukraine, volunteering for the organization Veterans Rebuilding Life on its

“The commonality between every American here that I’ve met is that they felt helpless sitting at home just like I did. You hate to see all these things happening to innocent Ukrainian civilians,” said Trey Pflum, Head of Ukraine Operations Team for Safe Passage 4 Ukraine.

Pflum’s first focus was helping people safely leave the country but says now most are staying or returning to what’s left of their home country.

“They’re very, very stubborn, but for a good reason, right? So they wholeheartedly believe that they’re going to win this war. And quite frankly, so do I,” said Pflum. “After seeing everything that I know, they’re not the best equipped, they’re not the best trained, but they are stubborn for all the right reasons. So they’re not going to just roll over and die and let Putin take their country.”

Now, Pflum’s focused on humanitarian efforts, helping Ukrainians live in their country. He’s distributing food, clothing and medical supplies and helping rebuild homes. “Everything is needed. It goes a long way,” said Pflum. “The population here is extremely thankful for everything that they get.”

Pflum is staying in downtown Kyiv. He says when he looks out his window, he sees most buildings are still standing, but there are signs of war. “I believe there are two destroyed tanks and one APC brought into Kyiv by the Ukrainian military. That was like a constant reminder for what’s going on,” said Pflum. “The war isn’t over. that’s a very big thing”

Pflum isn’t sure when he will return home, but he believes right now he is where he is supposed to be.