West Ashley man teaches first aid to hundreds of Ukrainians
WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCSC) - Peter Morton first set foot in Ukraine in 2012 for work and has been tied to the people and the country ever since.
He has also previously served as an intelligence officer in the military and says his expertise is in protective security.
“I have a pretty big group of friends, their colleagues, and a lot of them were calling when the [Ukraine war] started happening. Saying hey, ‘I need help or we have people in occupied areas. Can you help get them out?’ And that’s something my company’s done in the past,” Morton explained.
Morton had been working on a passion project creating a non-profit to empower people and connect them to their passions. He says he got the 501(c)(3) non-profit approved just days after the invasion last Fall.
He realized, that could be an answer to helping those he knew in trouble.
Morton says he was able to raise nearly $60,000 in just a few weeks that would eventually fund medical relief supplies. He received support from an orphanage in Ukraine from his previous work to sponsor his needs during the trip, and he called up some of his ex-military friends, and they set out.
*First, they spent time in Poland, learning about the situation, and assessing how to help. I spent three weeks in Poland, just collecting data trying to figure out how we get the most positive effects, and then we determined it was to train up the locals,” Morton said.
Morton says he started by reaching out to his friends in the area to see what was going on.
First and foremost, the people needed humanitarian aid and relief.
“It was left to the locals to do a lot of this; pastors, farmers, teachers, whoever, jumping in vehicles and running aid into the conflict areas into the combat zones where they’re being shot at, where they’re getting attacked. They’re just normal people,” Morton said.
He says, with the help of his local friends, he was able to set up classes to train people in first aid, evacuations and other front-line tactics to help those in need.
“It was cool because it wasn’t us going in and rescuing everybody or being the great savior or whatever. It was us empowering the locals who were fully capable of doing this,” Morton said.
He says they trained about 200 people over the course of three months, and supplied them with 65 ‘go-bags’ full of nearly $900 of top of line equipment.
“We give them a satellite phone in case cell service went down, individual first aid kits with tourniquets and bandages, and we only give them to the people that went through the training so we could show them how to use everything,” Morton explained.
Morton says he met so many passionate and capable people in Ukraine who inspired him with their patriotism and dedication to helping their fellow countrymen.
He describes a pregnant woman, ready to train and return to the war zone. She put her efforts into helping others saying she was still strong and able so she needed to do her part.
“I was like, ‘Okay, so you’re pregnant. You’re with your husband, you’re in a combat zone and you’re going in back and forth delivering aid. And she’s like, ‘It’s for my kid, it’s for my child,’” Morton said.
Morton offered great thanks to his team’s interpreter. She helped them greatly through any challenges involving language and negotiation.
“Her father had been killed on the second day of the war in bombing. She left and she was a refugee. She got status and was able to go to Poland but her goal was to find an organization to work with and go back in and help,” Morton said.
He says the people in Ukraine inspired him with their passion for country and he knows the battles are far from over.
“I’ve seen two war zones in my life. This is nothing like those. It was on a different scale,” Morton said.
He is still working through his non-profit, Iron Edge Ministries, to fund and support training for locals. He hopes to continue empowering them through this time, and to be there for them when it’s time for recovery.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.