Veteran Marine from Kaysville in Ukraine helping families flee war

Mar 23, 2022, 5:17 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 8:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – A U.S. Marine veteran from Kaysville has been helping refugees escape Ukraine for nearly two weeks.

He’s working with another former Marine who lives in Lviv, Ukraine. This week they’ve expanded their humanitarian operation into Kyiv, where the fighting intensified.

Quan Nguyen and a former fellow Marine friend in Lviv have helped several dozen families get out of Ukraine so far.

Two days ago, Nguyen headed into Kyiv because he knew their group could have a positive impact as the Russians bore down on the capital city.

“There’s definitely a heightened sense and you see a lot of soldiers walking around. You see a lot of civilians walking around with guns,” Nguyen said in a video call today.

Task Force 824 operates a safe house in Lviv for families fleeing the fighting. Those refugees told them about loved ones left behind in Kyiv who still needed help.

“I’m leaving my parents behind, they’re too old. Is there somebody that can check up on them to see if they’ve got medication? Groceries?” Nguyen said.

So Nguyen went to Kyiv. “I went to the grocery store today bought a bunch of groceries and gave it to them,” he said.

Meantime, the Russians have intensified the assault on Kyiv. Nguyen said you cannot always tell the city is under siege until the sirens sound. One went off during our call. Here’s what he said: “OK, we just had an air raid siren. So, I’m going to pay attention to what’s going on. I’m actually going to move away from the windows.”

He turned out the lights and headed for the bathroom.

“Lately, it’s been a lot more,” the marine veteran sad.

Despite intensifying warfare, Nguyen said the Ukrainian people are optimistic they can repel the Russians.

Former refugee and Utah marine heads to Ukraine to help

“They’re going back on the offensive. They’re taking some towns back. It should be interesting to see what will happen in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll play it by ear.”

Nguyen said recent pledges of support with arms from the international community have given new strength to the resistance.

“You can feel the energy definitely after getting the commitment from the international community to get the arms, and just the success of their military,” Nguyen said. “They are definitely emboldened, no doubt about that.”

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Veteran Marine from Kaysville in Ukraine helping families flee war