Save a Soldier's Life

Save a Soldier's Life

From Brandon-Evelina Walters

Ukrainians are in urgent need of protective gear such as ballistic vests and helmets. My goal is to raise $16,000 to purchase 20 vests and 20 helmets to save the lives of 20 brave men and women fighting for their future.

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***Administrative note

As of June 19, Fundly and their payment processing vendor Stripe have locked this campaign and have blocked any further donations. We raised nearly $1,800.00 in the first three days, but Fundly and Stripe refunded all donations so far (with the exception for some reason of my own donation) without warning and without explanation. I have contacted them nearly every day since June 19 asking them to open this campaign again and for an explanation of their actions. I went through their stringent identity verification requirements, but they have not responded and have not given me any kind of explanation. I can only assume what their absurd reasoning may be. I am deeply ashamed and frustrated by this because I truly believe that with time we could have reached our extremely ambitious goal of $16,000.

I want to ask everyone to instead please continue your support to this cause and for the Ukrainian people by making a donation directly to my friend Ed Ma’s organization at https://edsfriends.org/. This organization is a registered 501(c)(3) and your donation will be tax deductible by donating directly through them. In addition to purchasing protective gear such as bulletproof vests and ballistic helmets, they also purchase humanitarian aid such as medical supplies, ambulances, and other essential support to the Ukrainian people in their time of need. Please visit the Ed’s Friends website for more information.

I am truly sorry about this, especially to everyone who donated, supported, and shared this campaign. I hope that everyone can please help the Ukrainian people by sharing with your family, friends, and wider network the good work that Ed’s Friends is doing and to ask them to make a monetary donation. 

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Why This Crowdfunding Campaign?

My name is Brandon Walters and I was a US Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine from 2008-2012. During my service, I consistently witnessed the Ukrainian people’s resilience and their sincere desire to improve their country. I was always impressed with the level of participation in civil society and the hard work that Ukrainians, especially the youth, would put into issues they believed in and in securing a different and better future. My students and my Ukrainian friends taught me what true patriotism is.

True to spirit, they, along with millions of other Ukrainians, have continued this patriotism and have stepped up to serve at the most crucial time when their country needed them the most. Unfortunately, Russia’s unprovoked aggression and brazen brutality is now killing many of them, robbing them of their future, and intentionally robbing Ukraine of her best and brightest.

The war is now in a critical phase. While Ukraine’s heroic military and all of the civilians who helped them have pushed Russian invaders out from Kyiv and other key regions for the time being, the bombings and targeted civilian strikes have now been concentrated in much of the eastern regions and cities. Should Russia win there, they will not stop and they will certainly push further west, attempt again to capture the capital, and swallow Ukraine as a whole.

Russia’s war of aggression is not only an attack on Ukraine’s right to exist, but also an attack on Europe’s and America’s professed shared values of democracy, freedom, and one’s right to choose their own future. Russia’s bellicosity is an existential threat to our security and world peace.

My Goal

The goal of this crowdfunding campaign is very straightforward. I am asking all of my family, friends, friends of friends, and hopefully an even wider audience, to help chip in to purchase for the brave soldiers fighting on the frontlines 20 bulletproof vests and 20 ballistic helmets. There are numerous stories from the battlefields where protective gear such as this has saved a young life and has given them a second chance.

Once we hit our goal of $16,000, I will be donating every single penny of this fundraiser to a prominent 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization called Ed’s Friends. The founder of Ed’s Friends is also a former Peace Corps Ukraine volunteer, with whom I have a connection and several mutual friends. Ed and his team have sources in Europe and Ukraine to purchase this equipment in bulk and an extensive network of friends and connections to deliver it quickly into the hands of those who need it the most. They have been delivering supplies and protective gear to Ukrainians since this larger Russian campaign of brutality started in February, 2022. I encourage you to visit the Ed’s Friends website to view photos and read posts about the important work they have been doing to support the Ukrainian people during this decisive and depressing period of their history.

To show my commitment to this campaign, I have donated the first $1,000 from my personal savings.

Details about What Our Donation Will Purchase

Here are some more details about what our collective donation will purchase and how I calculated the $16,000 goal:

As of mid-June, each vest costs around 400 Euro ($420—rough exchange rate) and each helmet costs around 330 Euro ($345). This makes the total approximately 14,600 Euro ($15,250). I am aiming for a goal of $16,000 to cover for price fluctuations and/or transportation costs incurred by the Ed’s Friends organization to deliver this life-saving gear.

Each vest comes with two bulletproof plates (protection level IV, the highest on the market and enough to withstand rifle rounds)—one for the front and one for the back. Each ballistic helmet is rated IIIA to help protect from gunfire and nearby blasts. The Ed’s Friends organization purchases these from a company in Europe for logistical reasons and to help significantly save on shipping costs.

Spread the Word

Please share this fundraiser with your family and friends and spread the word. Every little bit literally saves a life. 20 vests and 20 helmets is but a drop in the bucket compared to the scale of destruction and violence Russia has been inflicting on the Ukrainian people for the past 8 years, but together we are strong.

If you have any questions about this fundraising campaign, questions about what else we can do to support Ukraine, or questions about Ukraine’s fight for their future and what it means for America and Europe, please reach out to me at walterb399@gmail.com. I love talking about Ukraine and can tell you stories from happier and more optimistic times about how amazing the Ukrainian people are.

Thank you sincerely for your support.

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