Armed with a valuable basket of groceries, a Quebecer has been back and forth on the border between Ukraine and Poland 10 hours a day since last Monday to help tired refugees carry their luggage.
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“You don’t have to do extraordinary things to reach people, realizes Patric Crevier, 54. It gives them balm. It’s not just the baggage, it’s the intention. I’ve come a long way to do it. , They were shocked. ”
Since last Monday, the man has found an extraordinary mission to help Ukrainian refugees: he helps them carry their luggage.
Every morning, he goes to Medyka, on the Poland-Ukraine border, and finds a valuable basket of groceries.
“When you have a basket, you don’t let go. If not, in two seconds, someone will take it to you! “he assured.
One woman he helped, Svetlana, even called him a “hero,” which shook him.
“Her husband died in Ukraine, and her son returned to fight, and I am her hero …”, confides one who works in the pharmaceutical field.
The walk is 50 to 60 km
Throughout the day, Mr. back and forth. Crevier between the two countries. He walks 50 to 60 kilometers per day.
“It’s been a long day, but it’s hard to stop. How can I get back to the hotel when people are waiting? “, he asked.” But at some point, I have no choice, my body tells me! […] We climbed a hill towards Ukraine. Tylenol and Advil work well at night! »
“But it’s so good,” admits the man with the yellow bib.
The resident of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, in Montérégie, has been looking for a way to help Ukrainians since the beginning of the war. Although he had no experience with humanitarian aid and no contact on the spot, he flew on March 19.
“I could give money, but I found it far away. I am resourceful, I thought I would find something to do, ”he says.
A long walk
“There is no boss here. Initiative is needed, he said. There are people who play as volunteers, but don’t do much. »
A boy took advantage of the grocery basket to rest his feet while crossing the border into Poland.
When Ukrainian refugees arrive at the Polish border (by car, bus or train), they still have to walk more than a kilometer with their children and luggage before reaching customs.
Mothers often have their arms full, and a basket of groceries is no exception. The wait to go through customs can exceed three hours.
Arriving in Poland, he accompanied the refugees on foot to Medyka, where they boarded a bus to another Polish town, 14 km away.
“I try to guide them,” he said, despite the language barrier.
Back to Ukraine
In addition, Mr. also accompanies. Crevier are Ukrainians who want to return to their country, for all sorts of reasons.
“Poland is not known for them. They have no plan, no money. They realize that as long as they are in the unknown, they will prefer to go home. Others feel bad about leaving.»
And although it crosses customs twice in each direction (for each country), customs officials are tolerant.
Patric Crevier stamped his passport every time he traveled between Poland and Ukraine.
“They are starting to get to know me! said an ultra-stamped passport.
Mr. Crevier will fly back to Canada today. Even though he wants to stay longer, he just sticks to positive things. “When you discover the effect [causé par le fait] Helping people is hard to beat, “he revealed.