Air Force veteran walks to raise money for Ukraine
Ray Opalka is a Ukrainian-born Air Force veteran, and with all the recent events, he’s started walking.
“I’m a single dad with a three-year-old, and so I can’t go, so I had to do something,” Ray Opalka said.
Ray considered many options for how he could help, and finally decided he would walk fifty miles.
“My original intention was to walk twenty-seven miles, one way, stay at Grand Lake Casino, then walk back twenty-three miles the next day, and my doctor said no, you can’t do that,” Opalka said. . .
This is because he recently found out he needed hip replacement surgery.
“About five months ago, just one of my hips got inflamed, and I went to the doctor, and he said yes, your right hip is affected, and I was like WHAT? And they went to x-ray my left and said yes, your left is worse,” Opalka said.
So with all the ways to help, why would he choose to walk?
“Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians cross the whole country, elderly people, parents carrying their children, and there are hundreds of kilometers on foot trying to get to Poland or Moldova… I can walk fifty kilometers,” Opalka said.
Opalka has already raised $1,700 with a goal of raising $10,000.
“I want to thank the 507th Silver Squadron, they were very generous and they gave. Also, VFW Post 7192. I went there and spoke with them and people were like here, have a little d ‘money,” Opalka said.
He knows $10,000 is a lot, but it won’t solve all the problems.
“We can provide them with water, and even if it’s just to supply the refugees crossing the border, ten thousand dollars can get them a lot of supplies,” Opalka said.
Opalka’s maternal and paternal family are from Ukraine, and he knows the extreme circumstances they endured to ensure he had a good life.
“I served for thirty years to give back to this country what it did for my family, now I just need to give back to Ukraine a bit,” Opalka said.
He still has family in Ukraine and had planned to go there this year.
He predicts it will take him a few weeks to complete 50 miles, if you want to support follow this link. All donations will go to Direct Relief.