Iowan Travels to the Frontlines to Assist Ukrainians
Carroll native Ryan O'Leary left Iraq in 2018 with the intention of never going back to war ever again.
But 2018 might as well be a lifetime ago.
Now, like many of us, witnessing senseless tragedy unfold as the war between Russia and Ukraine intensifies by the day, O'Leary has decided to travel to the frontlines of Ukraine to fight back.
Khalil Maycock and Hollie Knepper of Local 5 conducted a fascinating interview with O'Leary; an interview that, at one point, was interrupted when O'Leary heard the sound of rockets being fired just outside of his location (which he didn't disclose).
O'Leary spent four years in the National Guard, and after perceiving the United States' response to the ongoing conflict as too slow, he decided to make a brave trip overseas.
O'Leary is the only American in his legion, which is comprised of 10 Ukrainians. He estimates he's one of 20,000 foreign soldiers aiding in the fight to protect the country. Him and his recon relies on civilians' homes for food and shelter.
As far as O'Leary is concerned, there's a lot on the line worth fighting for. He recognizes Ukrainians as people not unlike Americans themselves. They're individuals who want a say in their government, and how their country is run. They want quality, high-paying jobs, and don't want to live in a country decimated by senseless tragedy.
I find O'Leary's actions noble and his interview surprisingly candid. He doesn't appear to be doing this for any kind of valor nor a heroism award that should be bestowed upon him. I'm far too comfortable in my own routine and my sense of security to dream of doing something like this.
If I could help bring any kind of awareness to this story, and O'Leary selfless actions, that's a win for me and my line of work.
Take a peek at the gallery below for ways you can help Ukraine.