Ex-Valley police officer returning to help Ukrainians after state Senate honor
May 20, 2022, 11:15 AM | Updated: 11:57 am
(KTAR News Photo/Jayme West)
PHOENIX – A former Valley police officer is heading back to Europe to help Ukrainians after the Arizona Senate honored him this week for his humanitarian work.
Pat Shearer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday that “it’s hard to be home” for a break after spending two months in and around Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion.
“I still heard the sirens days after I came home,” he said. “I would hear them in my head. It’s something that doesn’t really leave you right away.”
Shearer was a guest Tuesday at the state Senate, where the former Peoria officer received a round of applause when Republican Sen. David Livingston formally recognized his “dedication, courage and sacrifice in protecting freedom abroad.”
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Shearer, who is retired and lives in Strawberry, visited Ukraine about a year ago and felt compelled to help after Russia invaded the country in February.
He said it’s been an eye-opening experience.
“I think my outlook about war has really changed a lot. Yeah, very a lot,” he said. “It’s really — some of the things I saw you just don’t see in the movies.”
Shearer is flying to Poland this weekend and bringing along supplies for soldiers and water purifiers for people to use when there’s no clean water supply available.
He’ll also have a larger vehicle than before for getting refugees out of Ukraine.
“There’s going to be a … nine-person van waiting for me that we started purchasing and getting fixed up before I left,” he said. “And so I’ll be able to transport many more than I did before.”
Shearer said that despite the dangers and difficulties, he looks forward to reuniting with fellow aid workers.
“It’s hard to be home,” he said. “When you’re talking on the phone with them and then you hear explosions in the background and you can hear that they’re getting kind of nervous … you just, I don’t know, you like to think you kind of get used to it, but you don’t.”
Anybody wanting to contribute to Shearer’s cause can make donations through the Arizona Legislative Chaplaincy website.