Long Island native helping on front lines of Ukraine war

Kristofer Kalas says he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The 31-year-old Long Island native spoke to FOX 5 NY from an undisclosed location close to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv about how he is putting his life on the line to help the people of Ukraine

"Bringing aid to people who need it, whether it’s food, medical supplies, doing on the ground medical treatment to people who need it immediately in conflict zones," he said. 

Kalas helped his wife, who is from Ukraine, and their 6-month old baby girl safely get to Portugal. Now he’s back in the war-torn country with a team of doctors and military personnel. While he’s neither of those, the chef from East Hampton is using his knowledge of Ukraine and the contacts he’s made to assist the aid efforts to help the war's victims.

"We’ve had people firing at us, in our direction, towards us," Kalas said. 

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The self-funded group already helped more than 40 people. They’re hoping for more financial support and medical supplies to continue with the humanitarian efforts. 

"After getting here and getting on the ground, no one wants to leave until this is over and hopefully we win," he said. 

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Kalas who, prior to the war, split his time between New York and Ukraine says despite the destruction and despair, Ukrainians are some of the most resilient people he’s ever met.

"Even if you walk down the street and you see a building that’s no longer there or the ground littered with shell casings, somehow I would say the morale is quite strong," Kalas said. 

And while their days are long and the loss is heartbreaking, Kalas is determined to make sure there’s still a Ukraine for his family to live in - and most importantly for his daughter to grow up in. 

"I would like to believe that in 10 years, I can tell her that what we did here helped preserve Ukraine for her to grow up in when she’s older."