CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A couple in Clifton Park recently returned from Ukraine, where they volunteered and provided medical care to hundreds of people.
“They would tell me their list of complaints and then they would throw in something like ‘My daughter was killed and I’m caring for all of my grandchildren and I don’t know how they’re going to deal with what’s going on here,'” Ann Schwanda said.
Dr. Stephen Kineke, a physician, and Ann Schwanda, a registered nurse, returned from a volunteer trip to Ukraine in late October, where they provided medical care to communities impacted by the war.
“We set up clinics in these seven towns, mostly elderly,” Kineke said. “I saw people who had strokes during the occupation, heart attacks during the occupation, we took care of a lot of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, a lot of the stuff I saw in practice here.”
News10 first spoke with Kineke in 2022, as he was volunteering in the country for the first time, providing care through the Global Care Force. The non-profit organization has continuously held clinics in the country since the war with Russia began. Since then, Kineke and his wife have traveled to Ukraine multiple times to volunteer.
“Not once did we feel unsafe,” Kineke said. “We could hear, in the villages we went to, we could feel artillery going off in the town of Kherson, but they never brought us in range of any artillery so we always felt safe.”
The couple said they hope to continue their volunteer work in Ukraine and let people impacted by the ongoing war know they are not forgotten.
“To me, it’s like taking care of family because my family originated in that area in the world,” Schwanda said. “When I’m going there, it’s like taking care of my mother, my grandmother, and being able to give back.”
“There’s some real heroes there that I don’t think we can forget,” Kineke said. “I think we have to realize that what the Russians are doing to these poor people is really criminal.”