Below is an email that Dennis Otoshi asked we share with the Class. Attached is a photo of Dennis in Ukraine.
Following Dennis’ email is a note from Greg Baur on how to support Dennis and Ukranians in general.
God bless Dennis and pray He keeps him safe.
President, USNA Class of 1978
From: Dennis Otoshi, March 28 at 10:12 AM
Send comments for Dennis to: email@example.com
“Greg, here are some thoughts that came to me during the overnight 2100 to 1000 watch (shift) at the Kyiv Train station. I do my best thinking at night. Share as you see fit.
Classmates, fellow warriors, freedom loving Americans,
I sit here in a darkened train station in our version of the mid-watch. The darkness masks the reality that it is actually the twenty-first century. I only have to close my eyes and listen to the air raid sirens to be transported back to 1940 and the London Blitz.
Refugee trains; indiscriminate bombing of civilians; the modern versions of V-1 buzz bombs flying into a capital city; an enemy so unquestionably evil that there is no debate; and a nation standing alone.
Like that earlier time in history, people of good conscience have rallied to the cause. When governments were slow to act, individuals took it upon themselves to join the fight. Whether at the front or from the homefront, this cause became theirs. It has become mine.
Fate and circumstance have brought me to Ukraine. My schooling and experiences with the USNA Class of 1978 and especially 33rd Company have served me well. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers, but please remember that it is not about me, it is about the Ukrainian people.”
Dennis Otoshi, Registered Nurse
American Red Cross / Ukrainian Red Cross
Note from Greg Baur:
A correction, Donations for Ukraine, and no mail for Dennis:
Many have asked about giving to Ukraine and for Dennis.
1) First, Dennis my sand-blower hero is not working for the International Red Cross, but volunteered instead directly with the Ukrainian Red Cross, which is a Ukrainian national organization, unaffiliated with Intl. Red Cross. Sorry…Dennis also explained that the American Red Cross only works in America, so national Red Crosses are probably the norm.
2) Dennie says there is no way to get mail through to him.
3) He warned me that there are many scams out there ‘for Ukraine support’ and said he would eventually send me a legit list. We all have to do our own due diligence in the interim.
He also advised that there would be tons of Ukrainians coming to the US eventually, and that might be the best opportunity to have an impact, while supporting those immigrants. However, I know that I was eager to give now, while we are waiting for Dennis’s guidance. If you want to donate now and when the refugees come to the United States, I would only give to large established charities, like Samaritan’s purse, which has a large reach and a good reputation. Again, on every possible outfit, do your own due diligence. Don’t let your much needed money go to a crook instead. Most large denominations probably have a presence in Ukraine or alternately in Poland. For Catholics, you may want to check into the Knights of Columbus solidarity fund for Ukraine. Their website says their people have donated $8,616,689, so far. They “will be working with our councils in Poland as well as the Latin and Greek Catholic Churches in Ukraine to provide temporary shelter, food, medical supplies, clothing, and communications.”(Thanks for this one Gisela McKeag (Bill-Mighty 33rd Co.). You have to be clever and strong to marry any Naval Officer, but most 33rd Company men need a lot of training. You should see my wife Beth’s 30 year Marine wife muscles). I spent 10 minutes on the internet to find that my denomination, Presbyterian Church of America, (PCA is theologically conservative), has 14 missionaries in Ukraine. Some of those people have been there since the fall of the Soviet Union. Some missionary families have fled, because most have children. The PCA missionaries have 15 partner churches, including in Kiev. In Annapolis, we have our own local church missionaries to support, so I’ve not been giving to the national PCA ‘Mission To the World’ missionaries, (mtw.org). However, I recently sent them some money specifically for Ukraine. I read about 1 of their faithful Ukrainian pastors, using his own money and his bicycle, to assist the remaining members of his small church with food and $.
My 33rd Company classmates and I thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers for Dennis.
Of the Marines