DETROIT – Michigan’s National Guard has a more than two-decades-long relationship with the Latvian military as they’ve participated in military training together.
Retired Michigan National Guard Adjutant General Gregory Vadnais spent 10 years in the Baltics and knows that area well.
“It came as no surprise to me the tenacity, the response, and how well the Ukrainians have done based on my experience training with the Latvians,” said Vadnais. “I knew they were absolutely going to put up a stiff resistance.”
The retired Adjutant General sits on the board of the non-profit Oxford Foundation.
Through his contacts, it became clear that the Ukrainian Civil Defense Force, the everyday citizens who picked up arms to fight the Russian invasion, didn’t have the equipment necessary to survive.
Now, the Oxford Foundation is in the process of collecting $1.5 million to send helmets, body armor, and medical kits to those citizens turned soldiers.
Vadnais has the contacts to both get the products and get them over there quickly.
“We are trying to move out quickly to get that stuff together, we have direct comms, and we are in contact on the ground with the territorial defense force,” Vadnais said.
While he applauds the aid the west is sending, he sees this as an area that’s not being addressed.
Donations can be sent through the foundation’s online portal here.