Two former Artur Express employees have headed to Ukraine to assist the Ukrainian Army in the unproved war with Russia.
Andriy Penchak, former Artur Express dispatcher, and Valentin Drobakha, former Artur Express driver, headed to war-torn Ukraine on Friday, March 4 to help their homeland in the fight against Russian forces. Drobakha’s son Arsen has also stepped in to help.
In an interview with Pennsylvania-based news publication, Penchak said that while he’s not afraid to die, he is afraid to leave his wife Julia and their three young children behind.
“I’m extremely proud of my husband, my father and my brother. I wish I could go with them,” Julia told the Courier Times. “I wouldn’t dare stop them. I wouldn’t want to live with a person who stopped someone from going.”
Penchak told the Courier Times that he was on vacation in Puerto Rico when Russia invaded Ukraine. He said that he immediately ended his vacation and flew home. On day two of the war, he said he knew he had to go help his fellow Ukrainians.
Penchak used his savings to pay for the international flight. Once the three arrive in Poland, they plan to head for the Ukrainian border.
“I never had been in a battle,” Penchak told the Courier Times. He does not have former military training but he does know how to operate guns.
“Ukrainians are fighting alone for the free world right now,” Julia said.
Eugene Luciw, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America said “it is well known throughout our community that a number of Ukrainian Americans of Philadelphia have traveled to Ukraine and enlisted in her armed services. My mere words are inadequate for describing the the honor, bravery and self-sacrifice of these persons. We can all learn a lesson about the meaning of dedication to freedom and world peace.”
“The Falls Township Police gave Penchak a choice of helmets to take, along with a bulletproof vest and other supplies at a news conference they held Friday to show the police equipment, medical supplies and other donations they were sending to Ukraine,” the Courier Times reported.
Falls Police Chief Nelson Whitney told the Courier Times he was, “so impressed with the bravery and loyalty of this man.”
” That Mr. Penchak is leaving the safety of the United States and the company of his family to return home to Ukraine and fight in this war is deeply moving. It’s shows the great love and spirit of the Ukrainian community.”