Half a dozen volunteers and Samaritan employees threw packed bundles of sheets around a gurney and several hospital beds late last week, helping to fill a 53-foot tractor trailer with medical supplies destined for Ukraine.
The donations were facilitated by Operation Outreach, an organization formed by Corvallis resident Rhawn Krough. Krough has been moving donated medical equipment internationally for more than 20 years since his first shipment, which was a GE X-ray machine sent from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center to Ukraine.
Krough was assisted by former and current Oregon State University students Jaki Shaik, from Hyderebad, India; Yoshiko Murakami from Yamagata, Japan; and Elizaveta Mamardashvili from Tiblisi, Georgia.
Mamardashvili’s parents are currently housing Ukrainian refugees who have fled to her native homeland of Georgia, a country on the Black Sea to the southeast of Ukraine.
“My family is in Georgia, and the best thing that they can do right now is support refugees there,” said Mamardashvili, an electrical engineering student. “There are a lot of people from Ukraine right now in Georgia. Those people have lost everything.”
Samaritan Courier Services manager Todd Heustis loaded the pallets that could fit in the trailer, while the volunteers broke down several pallets filled with blue sheets, tossing each individually packaged sheet into the big rig. The hospital sheets, originally white in color, are dyed blue to cover any stains during medical use.
After the pallets were loaded, the workers pushed the gurney and several hospital beds into the trailer. They capped off the load by individually tossing more sheet packages from the final pallet, which could not fit into the cargo trailer.
From Corvallis the truckload of supplies was shipped up to Vancouver, Washington, where volunteers will sort through the supplies and load them into a container that will be transported to Poland and then on to Ukraine.
Medical workers and volunteers from local churches will do the sorting in Vancouver, said Iryna Bolotnikova, an Oregon Health Science University nurse who is coordinating that effort. “In Ukraine, we’re working with various charitable organizations that are receiving these donations and they are delivering them to the hospitals and clinics.”
Once received in Ukraine, the supplies will be used throughout the country.
“There are over 200 hospitals that have been completely destroyed, maternity hospitals, over 70 ambulances have been destroyed,” said Bolotnikova, who grew up in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. “In areas where the hospitals have been destroyed the need for medical care is devastating. The resources are so limited that the majority of hospitals are dependent on the volunteering organizations or volunteers to provide resources, medical supplies, medications for them to be able to function.”This is the second truckload of supplies donated from Samaritan’s Belvue Warehouse. In April, more than $100,000 of outdated but sti