We continue to tell stories about our brave and fearless Innovecsers, who make every effort to fight evil and protect their homeland. Today we dedicate this blog post to Michael Beelar, VP Supply Chain & Logistics at Innovecs, who chose to make a change and get engaged in volunteering activity in Poland.
Besides being a high-class pro, Michael is a compassionate, supportive and caring person that Innovecs is lucky to have on board. Here is his own wartime experience.
— The news about the war was devastating for all Ukrainians, wherever they were at that moment. What were your first thoughts and feelings when you heard about it?
— After my initial feelings of horror and anger, my thoughts turned to the people of Ukraine and my colleagues. Since I started at Innovecs, I have grown to love Ukraine and its people, so I couldn’t believe any country could devise a premeditated and unprovoked attack on such a peace-loving country and culture. It still sickens me today.
— Have you ever been involved in any kind of volunteering?
— I volunteer here at home in Texas for charity events, homeless shelters, and counseling young people. Volunteering has been such a rewarding experience for me that I want to do more. So when the invasion happened, I knew that there would be a flood of Ukrainians going to Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, which are NATO countries. So, in March, I went to Warsaw to help people trying to get to the USA because I knew the process at the US Embassy and could assist. I spent many days in long lines at the US Embassy in the freezing cold.
— How has your life changed since the escalation of the russian invasion?
— Everything has changed in my life because of my close ties to Ukraine. I am more empathetic and patient with people who may be having problems I’m not aware of. My everyday work life hasn’t changed much, but my communications with my colleagues have been more of a challenge because they are in different parts of the world now — primarily Eastern and Western Europe.
— What do you think of your role in helping people during this war?
— Humanitarian aid is a focus of mine because I will always remember the faces of the people I’ve been able to help. I also hope that if I ever need assistance, someone will be there to help me. In the case of Ukraine, war equates to terrorism and genocide. I cannot stand by and watch innocent people being killed without acting on it. There are many charitable organizations in the USA and abroad that there is no excuse to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed and the threat russia poses.
— Helping people during challenging times means being strong and channeling your attention to other people’s problems. Where do you get this strength from?
— My compassion for people comes from the volunteer work I’ve provided here at home in Texas. However, the needs and circumstances of the Ukrainian people are so much greater than any cause or tragedy I have seen before. I get my strength from my amazing tribe of Innovecsers in Ukraine, who show so much strength and courage in the face of danger and chaos.
— You probably saw stories of our employees. Have you changed your opinion about Innovecsers?
— First of all, I love Innovecsers. If anything, I have a stronger personal bond with my colleagues. I am always asking where they are, how they are doing, and what their plans are. I am very interested in what our people are doing.
— Can you tell us any particular case you’ve dealt with that impressed you the most?
— I was instructed to meet a young lady with her small child and mother at the train station in Warsaw, coming from the Ukrainian border. She had requested a ride to one of the refuge locations where she could get help. The three of them shared only one suitcase. The young mother was clearly not in her right mind and probably suffered from PTSD. It was heartbreaking but also reaffirming that the humanitarian work people are doing is actually making a difference.
— What are your next steps on the volunteering path?
— There are several organizations in Houston, TX, where I live, and I have found one that I think is helping the most. I plan to continue my efforts, but sometimes feel like the volunteer work I have done locally is child’s play compared to the humanitarian aid needed by Ukrainians.
— Has this experience taught you anything so far? Are there any lessons or conclusions?
— This experience has taught me to “never judge a book by its cover.” I have met many volunteers and refugees I would never have found in my everyday life. I must admit that when I meet new people, I sometimes judge them by how they look or talk. However, I have met some of the smartest, kindest, and most compassionate people doing volunteer work that are a lot different from me. Today I cherish and respect those differences.
— Maybe you would like to provide some support and encouragement for our teammates and all the Ukrainians? If so, be our guest.
— To my tribe of Innovecsers in Ukraine, be proud of who you are and stay strong!