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Utah paramedic returns from volunteer medical mission in Ukraine

Posted at 9:26 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 23:51:38-04

After serving in the Air Force for more than seven years, Courtney Pollock felt that she needed to continue finding ways to serve and give back.

She finished paramedic school in August and recently started as a paramedic with Weber Fire District.

"As soon as it started, I remember wanting to figure out how to get over there," said Pollock about Russia's war on Ukraine. “I knew that I had medical knowledge now that I was just ready to go and wanted to get there.”

Courtney had been on the job with Weber Fire District for just three days before she got a call from 'Global Response Management', who vetted her credentials and offered her a spot on their upcoming volunteer mission in Ukraine.

With support from her new colleagues and fellow first responders, Courtney headed to Poland with nearly 150 pounds of donated medical supplies to aid her response.

She flew from Salt Lake City to Frankfurt, Germany and drove to Poland where she met her fellow mission volunteers. From there, they drove a convoy of ambulances into Ukraine.

“I wasn’t scared, I was ready," said Pollock. "I was really ready to be there and do what we came to do.”

For the next four weeks, Pollock learned from local doctors, used constantly "google translate" to communicate and helped save victims of war.

“It was a lot better and a lot worse than what I was expecting," said Pollock about Ukraine after having seen the images on the news. “I saw some lives being completely destroyed, I also saw a lot of people continuing on with their day-to-day life as if nothing was going on and then the air sirens start going off and everything changes.”

Pollock worked with a team that would triage patients in train stations, provide first aid, transport patients to hospitals and convoy patients to Poland.

"There was a moment I vividly remember sitting down and writing my will to my dad,” said Pollock when asked if she ever felt unsafe. “You’re going thru that and you’re like, if this is it then this is it, at least I’m doing the thing and I’m here doing my best helping everybody that I can.”

While she saw some patients in tough shape and spent time in bunkers after air raid sirens went off, Pollock says she wants to go back and help again.

“I realized when I was there for a month that this line of work, helping people in other parts of the world is going to be a part of me now forever," said Pollock.