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South Bay man departs for Ukraine on rescue, relief mission

South Bay man departs for Ukraine on rescue, relief mission
Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 13:24:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Monday, a South Bay man departed for Ukraine on a relief and a rescue mission.

“We’ve got blood collection kits, field medical kits, operation sponges, tourniquets and more,” said Jonathan Brook.

For Brook, what’s contained in his large duffel bags is the definition of precious cargo. From medical supplies to protective gear, they are donations that have been collected by the House of Ukraine.

Brook, the man transporting the supplies, is an international videographer who focuses on humanitarian efforts. In all, Brook checked in nine military duffel bags on a trip bound for Warsaw.

From there, he'll join a caravan organized by a Polish/Ukrainian relief nonprofit, headed into Ukraine.

“Each one of these bags has supplies in it to save a couple dozen lives," Brook said. "People on the ground have told us this is what they need quickly and urgently."

But Brook isn't just on an aid mission. Working out of Western Ukraine, he'll be trying to help his wife's elderly parents escape Kyiv.

On Sunday, as rockets bombed a shopping near their apartment, his mother-in-law was on the phone with his wife.

“My wife heard this huge explosion. It was so big it knocked out the phone line for a few seconds … Things had fallen off the shelf in the house,” said Brook.

His in-laws are hiding out in their 9th-floor apartment. There is no basement for them to hide in.

“It's like playing Russian roulette with the actual Russians pulling the trigger,” said Brook.

To help his in-laws, Brook and his wife will be calling on personal contacts and online message boards to try to arrange for a ride for them to western Ukraine, where he will help them cross the border.

Brook acknowledged the risk he is taking.

“There is risk involved. It’s not to be taken lightly, but our family is there,” said Brook.

Brook plans to be in Ukraine for about two weeks. He says if he is able to rescue his in-laws, it's unclear where they will end up. His mother-in-law has an active US visa and can fly to San Diego, but his father-in-law does not.