22 June 2024
The whole family joined the mission of saving lives in Bila Krynytsia
The whole family joined the mission of saving lives in Bila Krynytsia

Ivan Myronets never thought he would be a rescuer. But for the past five  years, he has been volunteering to help the residents of the Bila Krynytsia community in Rivne Oblast during emergencies.

Ivan worked as a driver in the village council, and when the community established a voluntary fire brigade after a visit to Poland, he was the first to join and served as the fire truck driver.

"Our community is large, with 11 villages. So, a fire could occur anywhere—in fields, landfills, and houses. Fire is a terrible force, and arriving on time is vital, especially since some of our villages are quite remote. I always wanted to make the community safer. During my time with the volunteer brigade, our team has saved many houses and lives", Ivan Myonets shares.



One of the most memorable moments for Ivan was the 18th day of the full-scale war when the Russians struck the Rivne TV tower with missiles. He witnessed the rocket strike with his own eyes. Over 20 people died in this tragedy.

"I live nearby and saw the missile flying. I was hiding in the shelter with my children. Very soon, I received a call and went to clear the rubble and help search for people," says Ivan.

Ivan has responded to nearly five hundred calls. He inspired his brother and two sons to join the team.

"When needed, I help pump or transfer water, roll up water sleeves, or lift something. I enjoy helping people. In the future, I would like to become a firefighter", shares Andrii, Ivan Myronets' son.



To help volunteers perform their work effectively and safely, the USAID HOVERLA Activity provided the community with 10 protective suits and specialized equipment such as a water pump, a power generator, a chainsaw, jacks, a cutter, and more.



"Bila Krynytsia is located near Rivne on the Kyiv-Chop highway, so there are often road accidents. Last summer, near Antopil village, when a car hit a guardrail, our volunteers were the first on the scene and helped rescue passengers from the car. With the cutter provided by the USAID HOVERLA Activity, they cut the guardrail and saved lives", adds Tetiana Honcharuk, Mayor of Bila Krynytsia.



Bila Krynytsia community has not only a voluntary fire brigade but also a Safety Center — the first in the West of Ukraine. It was established at the end of 2018 with the support of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Rivne Oblast. Here, rescuers and police officers work together, and in case of emergencies, local medics also join. The building also has a children's room where the community's youngest residents learn safe behaviors. During the war, the center was converted to a Point of Invincibility, or a safe space where people could shelter, keep warm, or charge their electronic gadgets.

"Community success is often measured by financial wealth. But if a person feels in danger, the community is unsuccessful. Therefore, we defined safety as our priority. And we are grateful to the USAID HOVERLA Activity for helping us protect our residents", concludes Tetiana Honcharuk.


Photos: Tetiana Kuzminchuk

Materials by the main department of the SESU in the Rivne region

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