From KT to Ukraine
We talk a lot about all the exciting stuff that happens here at Kissing Tree, but sometimes it’s the actions our residents take in the world that make the biggest impacts.
Hearing the Call
When the conflict in Ukraine started in February of 2022, Kissing Tree residents John and Karen Meeks were saddened by what was happening, and they wished they could do more than pray and raise money. Then they learned that a family friend who is an ER doctor had gone to staff an emergency field hospital in Lviv, a Ukrainian town near the Polish border. The friend suggested that John should check out the non-profit organization he had worked with, Samaritan’s Purse, and John soon submitted an application to become a volunteer. “It’s a pretty arduous application process, with a number of interviews and references,” John said. “It took almost four months to get approved.”
Training for a War Zone
Once John’s application was approved in June, he began a 40-hour online training course with stringent exams, earning the three certifications required for international deployment. In October, John headed to the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in North Carolina for a 6-day training program before his one-month deployment in Kyiv. “I had hoped to be deployed into the distribution network—there are still 5 million people on foot in the eastern part of Ukraine who still don’t have food or medical care,” John said. “The Samaritan’s Purse headquarters was moving from Moldova to Kyiv, and I helped with the practical parts of setting up an international relief office. We did everything from setting up systems and finalizing contracts to getting visas and coordinating with other partner organizations like the UN and World Central Kitchen.” It wasn’t his first rodeo: John’s many years working in Asia executing cross-border transactions and financial structures as well as 23 years at McCoy’s Headquarters responsible for logistics, finance, and store construction proved invaluable experience for his time in Ukraine.
Come Hear from John
We don’t want to give away all of John’s stories about his time in Ukraine – you can hear those and get the full story in person during his presentation at The Mix on February 22 at 12:30 p.m. If you’re already a Kissing Tree resident, you can sign up here so we can get an idea of how many folks are coming. If you’re not a resident and you’d like to talk to one of our New Home Counselors while you’re here, it’s a good idea to make an appointment ahead of time.