A South Bay emergency room technician has returned to the Bay Area after a month of volunteering in Ukraine.
NBC Bay Area spoke with Clayton Boyer at his Boulder Creek home Friday, hours after he flew back from the Ukraine and Poland border.
Boyer is an ER technician at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. When Russia invaded Ukraine, he started applying for volunteer positions to go.
“To help, to make a difference. To try and be something bigger,” said Boyer.
Boyer spent the last month using his medical skills to help in a Polish hospital and a hospice center for children with Ukrainian refugees.
“Immediately, I was assigned to 40 different Ukrainian families. About 165 people. Most of them children, to check on their daily medical needs,” he said.
According to Boyer, some of the families were scared and didn’t trust anyone because of the Russian propaganda shared to make them fearful of aid workers.
“They were very reluctant to ask for any help for anything, but they were also very grateful. And as the weeks went on that I was there, these families learned to trust me,” Boyer said.
Boyer added that he also helped coordinate and deliver supplies to border checkpoints welcoming refugees, where it was evident the world is watching and wanting to help.
"At one point, there were 107 big rigs, 18-wheelers that came in to deliver donated goods from around the world, clothing, pet food, baby supplies, medicine,” he said.
Boyer snapped a picture of the strollers donated for families who left with nothing.
The UN said that more than 5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.
Boyer said that he plans to go back in July. He hopes others don’t forget the atrocities happening right now and asks people to do their part – where they can.
“Even a $5 donation, they need it because it’s going to be years, maybe decades before Ukraine can rebuild,” he said.