Goodyear firefighter spends 3 weeks helping war efforts in Ukraine

Apr 22, 2022, 4:45 AM

PHOENIX — A Goodyear firefighter is back in the Valley after spending three weeks in Ukraine where he was part of a team that helped hundreds of people as the crisis raged on.

Dan Freiberg is a captain with the Goodyear Fire Department and traveled to Ukraine as a volunteer with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization that uses the skills and experience of military veterans and first responders to provide aid during disasters and humanitarian crises across the globe.

Freiberg’s team of 22 people established a clinic at a camp for internally displaced people and worked with the mayor of a Ukrainian city to coordinate shuttling those in need from 15 other camps to receive treatment of physical and mental ailments.

“My job was to make sure we were using our team to the highest level of effectiveness,” Freiberg said in a press release from the city.

“We wanted to be in the places where we could make the highest impact.”

While Freiberg said he didn’t have a lot of trauma patients, he witnessed other realities of war.

“We spent many hours in bomb shelters,” Freiberg said. “The air raid sirens would go off all night long, so you hardly ever got a good night’s sleep.”

During his time in the war-torn country, the spirit of the Ukrainian people stood out to Freiberg.

“What I noticed about the Ukrainians is everyone’s trying to do something to help protect their country,” he said.

“Of course, as humanitarians, we’re neutral, we’re non-biased, and we’re there to serve everybody and anybody. But certainly, the spirit of the Ukrainian people was very obvious.”

Freiberg’s drive to help people did not waver, even when traveling to a country in the midst of a war.

“I talk to so much of my family and friends, and they say, ‘I can’t believe you went and did that.’ But for me, I can’t imagine not helping,” he said.

Freiberg uses his vacation time with the department to volunteer, previously participating in missions with the nonprofit to Africa, Central America and Syria.

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Goodyear firefighter spends 3 weeks helping war efforts in Ukraine