Two San Diego Men Travel to Ukraine to Assist Refugees

The men have arrived in Poland and are on their way to Ukraine to help refugees fleeing the country because of violence

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Two San Diego men have traveled across the world to assist with the growing refugee crisis that has resulted from the violence in Ukraine.

Jamie Brown is a photographer and Army veteran who told NBC 7 that he was compelled to act after seeing the images and video of shelling, explosions and civilians fleeing in fear for their lives.

"Living the American life, we kind of have that First World privilege, and so I think we almost have a duty to go out and help where you can help, and I’m a veteran myself and so I have a lot of skill sets in austere environments that I can bring to the table," Brown said.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv shared this video on social media of technicians in Ukraine defusing a bomb in Chernihiv, Ukraine.

Brown is part of a group from Team Rubicon, a veteran-led international nonprofit that specializes in disaster response. It received a request for assistance from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health because it is a World Health Organization Emergency Medical Team that can support humanitarian crises around the world.

Team Rubicon is traveling to Ukraine to assist refugees escaping the violence. His mission is to document the team's work, but the group is mostly made up of medical professionals like Jason Allegri, who has 20 years of experience working as a firefighter and paramedic.

"Having the background that I do, working in the fire service, we’re action-oriented, so our first response is just wanting to get up and help, because that’s what we do, that’s what we do every day." Allegri said. "That’s what we do for our job, so having those abilities and that skill set, I was just chomping at the bit to go."

"I probably don't have any other place to go," Ukrainian refugee Sofiia told NBC 7's Dana Griffin.

The men don't know exactly where they'll end up just yet or what, specifically, they will be doing. They just say they're grateful to have the opportunity to help.

Team Rubicon has advance teams staged in Hungary, Moldova and Slovakia to determine if more help is needed in those countries if there is an influx of refugees. The group will remain in Poland and Ukraine until the end of March.

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