Former refugee in Utah helping fellow Marine assist Ukrainian refugees

Mar 8, 2022, 9:05 AM | Updated: Mar 9, 2022, 5:04 pm
Quan Nguyen and his wife get him ready to his trip to help Ukrainian refugees....
(Quan Nguyen, left, and his wife, Amy, look over some of the supplies he will take to refugees in Ukraine. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Quan Nguyen, left, and his wife, Amy, look over some of the supplies he will take to refugees in Ukraine. Photo: Paul Nelson)

KAYSVILLE – A Marine from Kaysville is setting off on a rescue mission, as he tries to help a fellow veteran help Ukranian refugees escape the country.

For this particular conflict, Quan Nguyen says it wouldn’t be enough for him just to make political statements and raise funds. He has a friend, a fellow Marine, who has lived in Ukraine for nearly a decade.

“For me, this was personal,” Nguyen said. 

Since the beginning of the invasion, Nguyen says his friend has been helping people fleeing into Poland. And his friend’s home has become a waystation for Ukrainian refugees trying to cross the border.

“He was telling me he was letting them sleep there, shower. He was feeding them and picking them up.”

Nguyen knows exactly how it feels to be a political refugee. He can remember living in a refugee camp as a very small child while his family escaped Saigon. His family made it to the United States when he was eight years old. Nguyen says the sudden artillery explosions were the most frightening part of living in the camps, which is why he’s packing earplugs to take to refugee children.

A table covered in supplies Nguyen will bring to Ukraine. (Paul Nelson/KSL Newsradio)

Along with the earplugs, Nguyen is bringing first aid supplies, water filtration systems, and burn kits for refugees to use. He says his friend needs supplies and an extra pair of hands to handle the exhausting amount of work.

“There was one time where he was supposed to pick up somebody and they got delayed because of logistics and he ended up literally passing out from exhaustion,” he said.

His wife, Amy, has a lot of concerns, but, she understands Quan has to help his fellow Marine.

“I didn’t hesitate when he brought it up.  I just knew that it was the right thing to do,” she said.  “I 100% support him, and I know that he’ll do great things over there.”

Nguyen plans to be in Ukraine for a few weeks, then return to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.

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