A Strathcona County firefighter/paramedic has travelled abroad to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Marc Pavan joined GlobalMedic over 10 years ago, back when they were responding to the earthquake in Haiti. At the time, he was a fairly new paramedic.
Now, he is in Europe to help Ukrainian refugees.
"I discussed it with my wife and decided that obviously, with our close familial relations with Ukraine and the significant Ukrainian presence in the area where we live that it would be a good opportunity for me to deploy and make a difference to help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, and the refugees that are fleeing the war there," he explained.
Pavan is posted in the Moldovan capital, Chișinău, with his partner, Garth Knox. Moldova is one of Europe's smallest and poorest countries, but reports say they've welcomed over 380,000 Ukrainian refugees since the war began.
He said there are anti-war billboards and small protests that pop up, but there are no proper refugee camps, so they tend to blend in. Many refugees are tucked away in vacant apartments, business spaces or hotels.
"It's difficult for me to look at people in a situation and not think of what it would be like for me to be in that situation or for my family to be in that situation," he said. "It makes me feel grateful that I have the opportunity to help people that need so much help."
Most of Pavan's responsibilities have been running food distribution to the people that need it. The majority of the people they help are women and children, as most men stayed to fight. According to Pavan, they distribute over 10 tons of food weekly and are working to increase that number.
After over a month abroad, Pavan will be leaving Moldova on Tuesday (Apr. 12) to return home, which he said is bittersweet, but he is also looking forward to seeing his family again.