Op UNIFIER recycles while supporting a good cause

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Article / February 10, 2017

By Capt Stephen Neil, JTF-U Chaplain

In addition to training their Ukrainian counterparts while on Operation UNIFIER, members of Joint Task Force – Ukraine (JTF-U) have been supporting an initiative to provide prosthetic limbs for Ukrainian soldiers.

When Canadian troops in Ukraine recycle their bottles and caps, the monetary value of the weight of the plastic is donated to OBEC, an organization that provides prosthetic limbs.

Caritas is a charitable organization that operates under the auspices of the Ukrainian Catholic church, and part of the current mandate of Caritas is to be a bottle cap delivery depot.

So far, 72 tonnes of plastic has been collected to provide prosthetic limbs for ten Ukrainian soldiers.

This past fall, several members of JTF-U had the opportunity to meet representatives of OBEC, as well as Roman Didera — a veteran who has received a prosthetic limb.

Canadian soldiers appreciate how prosthetic limbs are readily available at home for injured veterans. Realizing that prosthetic limbs aren’t as easily available for Ukrainian veterans has inspired the members of JTF-U to commit to recycling for charity.

The conversation with the Ukrainians also helped members of JTF-U appreciate the wide range of services that are offered to our members and their families. For example, Canadian troops have access to the services of the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC), chaplain services both in theatre and on the home front, as well as mental health services.

A poignant takeaway from the meeting was the appreciation of many Ukrainians for the work of JTF-U.

Canadians are helping to make a difference in the lives of Ukrainians who have experienced trauma as a nation at different times in the not-so-distant past.

At the meeting at Caritas, Canadian soldiers could express their support for the sacrifices being made by Ukrainian soldiers.

This article was originally published in the Shilo Stag.

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