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Operation Waterdeep

Jay Lawson, OH 2004-11, is fundraising to help with the Ukraine Crisis
14 Jun 2023
Written by Jay Lawson
OH News

I studied at Hymers College from joining the Junior School in 2004 and left the Senior School in 2011.  I was an avid Army Cadet at Hymers Detachment ACF, which sparked a passion for First Aid.  I then used my passion as motivation to become a British Army Combat Medic (CMT) and an NHS Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Throughout my career in emergency and combat medicine, I became acutely aware of the intolerable suffering occurring in Ukraine. I felt a moral duty to render aid, as I am a person with the skills and equipment to help. As such I left the UK on the 31st of May 2023 to travel to Ukraine with an ambulance full of emergency supplies. I returned on the 11th June, having run out of funding but successfully delivered supplies and manned the ambulance, handing it over to a frontline medical evacuation charity on my departure.

They will continue to use the ambulance in the frontline medevac role until it is destroyed. Based on statistical data, this is likely to happen within 30 days due to artillery or mine-strikes, which occur on an hourly basis. An ambulance that lasts more than 30 days in a frontline evacuation role in Ukraine is considered "lucky".

As the Kherson Dam crisis continues to escalate, I feel that I cannot return to my job on ambulances treating the public in the UK, while 700,000 people are currently deprived of drinking water. That statistic is unimaginable; humans are simply not wired to be able to adequately conceive of that amount of suffering. Every single person in that number is an individual, with a career, family and aspirations. Statistics cannot convey to you what I have witnessed. Families torn apart, refugees begging for food by the dozen, mothers and children evacuating to Poland leaving behind fathers and sons who carry rifles older than they are. I was embarrassed when I finished my duty to be the only fighting-age male on the transport out of Ukraine.

Every moment that I was in Ukraine, my heartfelt appreciation for volunteer medics was made felt. The Ukrainian people are selfless at heart. Even families with very little were willing to offer me and my team water, food, shelter, batteries etc.

The last time I went to Ukraine I did a fundraiser, but due to changes in the plan after the Kherson Dam crisis, I cancelled the fundraiser as the team had to split up. This was a moral decision, as I did not want donations directed toward combat casualties to be reallocated to flooding victims without giving the donor the opportunity to interject. I had to absorb the financial impact personally and has affected my wedding in September. I am currently running a new fundraiser to supply this new mission.

The mission is for the supply of a fully stocked VW Ambulance to Ukraine. It has been donated by Forward Response Group and is nearly ready.  I am driving to Ukraine again depending on how quickly the ambulance can be made ready. I cannot stand returning to work on ambulances to respond to patients who abuse the NHS (or its staff) for personal gain, while Ukraine and her people bleed.

I'll again be working with local experts, these are:

  • Forward Response Group - A Canadian/British disaster relief organisation with a huge amount of professional experience in humanitarian operations.
  • Road to Relief - A French charitable NGO running humanitarian operations in East Ukraine. (Also known as R2R)
  • Project Konstantin - A boots-on-the-ground charity that runs battlefield medical evacuation operations.

More information is available in the updates section of the fundraiser, which is and will be continuously updated.  We don't pick sides, we treat all casualties the same. Civilians who have stepped on mines, soldiers on either side who have been shot or malnourished children.

I apologise for the clumsy, perhaps amateurish presentation here. I am not a professional fundraiser. I am however a professional combat medic and emergency medic, and any way you can help promote or support my activities in relation to this operation will be wholly committed to the Ukraine crisis to the best of my ability.

Thank you for considering supporting me. I'm not sure how I could repay your kindness if you do decide to help me, but I would be willing to engage with the mentorship program as an Ambulance Service or Armed Forces mentor if you wished it.

Jay K Lawson

(I am an Army-qualified Combat Medical Technician, Class I (R). However, the opinions stated here, the mission and my activities in relation to Ukraine are not Army commissioned, sanctioned or approved. This mission is my own personal effort.)

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