To help civilians caught up in the conflict, a Reading personal trainer has traveled to the front lines in Ukraine.
The 38-year-old Nick Tenconi set out on the mission on the first anniversary of the Russian military forces' invasion of the nation.
He went on his journey with Vans Without Borders, a humanitarian organization founded in March 2022.
The team went to the front lines, which included Donbas.
Mr. Tenconi assisted in delivering necessities such as non-perishable foods, medical supplies like crutches, sanitary products, and anything else donated by UK citizens such as warm clothing and everyday items.
The journey out, he claimed, was hellish. There was a tangible sense of danger and, more specifically, of consequence.
"The checkpoints, the security measures, the tense atmosphere, the power outages, the uncertainty of surviving, the overhead missiles, the sirens, the curfew, and the breaking news of where the next target is to be located – and that was all before the front line. ".
Before taking an 18-hour bus ride to Vinnytsia, the Vans Without Borders team flew to Krakow first.
Although border security is rigorous, he continued, "I wouldn't say it was any more intimidating than other regions of the world I've crossed the border in. ".
The fact that Mr. Tenconi "felt safe" while serving on the front lines, he continued, "was instilled as a result of witnessing the bravery of the locals we were delivering to.
They occasionally sobbed, but overall they maintained their composure while the kids grinned.
The sound of bombing, cars crashing from people attempting to flee the hot zone areas, tanks rolling by, soldiers carrying rifles, checkpoints, burned-out cars, overturned vehicles, and decimated buildings all contribute to a mood of heartbreak rather than fear. ".
Mr. Tenconi used his knowledge as a personal trainer while on the trip to provide fitness advice to Ukrainian army soldiers.
He claimed that the Ukrainian people's spirit was "unbreakable," and that they appeared appreciative of the supplies but "not defeated."