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Former refugee and Utah Marine heads to Ukraine to help

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

KAYSVILLE — A Kaysville man is packing up and heading for Ukraine to do what he can to help those fleeing the Russian invasion. The Marine veteran plans to work with a friend in Ukraine to help people get out safely.

"I've always understood how horrible life is as a refugee," said Quan Nguyen.

He was born in Vietnam in 1972 and lived in refugee camps before coming to the United States when he was 8. That's why he always has compassion for refugees, no matter where they're from.

"We lost our country to communism, and my dad decided to get us out of there," Nguyen said. "So, I was a refugee."

Monday, Nguyen is packing donated burn kits, water purifiers and medical supplies, and taking off for the Ukrainian border Tuesday.

Nguyen served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has the skills to help out. He served in the Marines in active and reserve capacities for 14 years. He's not naive about what he's getting into, and he has a plan.

"I'm not going to the front line," he said. "I think that's the difference."

A fellow Marine veteran living in western Ukraine has set up a safe house to help those who are fleeing with a place to stay, critical supplies and transportation.

"He is basically taking strangers in, allowing them to rest for the night, feeding them," Nguyen said. "To see him just so tired every day, that's what prompted me to talk to my wife and to bring up the idea of possibly going over."

"We can't help everybody but, just knowing that you were able to be part of somebody's future and helping them escape. Who knows, that person could be the person that cures cancer."

His wife, Amy, was supportive immediately.

"I know who he is, in his heart," she said. "I am beyond proud of him for taking a stand against evil."

He plans to stay for several weeks, help his friend, then come home and continue raising funds. Right now, he's accepting Venmo donations at his business account of @TF824. He has a website up and running for this cause: TF 824 stands for Task Force 824: Aug. 24 is Ukrainian Independence Day.

"It is dangerous in a war zone. Having said that, again, I'm not going to the front lines," Nguyen said.

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Russia-UkraineMilitary in UtahDavis CountyUtahWorld
Jed Boal


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