Update from Greg Baur on our classmate Dennis Otoshi in Ukraine:
From Greg to Dennis:
Dennie, I see the action in the east and also the Ukrainians’ trying to get out of the steel factory. I am keeping you in prayer, and hope that you can give us an update when you get access, get some rest, and some time.
Very Respectfully, Greg
Dennis replying to Greg:
Hi Greg, I am back in Kyiv after being forward deployed over Easter to the Donbas region. Will go back there in a week. We have three teams that will rotate to the front. Orthodox Easter is the holiest day in their calendar, but the Russians would not agree to a truce, so we all worked. Enough said about how the orcs think. Day after returning, there were two missile attacks on Kyiv. It was a wake up call to the locals that the war is still ongoing. Spent most of the time evacuating people to hospitals and giving medical aid to refugees in bomb shelters. Other times, it was having to detour around the fighting. Comms are spotty and we had to go to three different hospitals before we could find one that was open. The situation is so fluid that many staff have evacuated. I slept within a few meters of the bomb shelter entrance. My sleeping bag was placed so that my head was under a desk, just in case. Helmet and body armor next to me and all I had to do was don the protective gear, grab a flashlight and jump out a ground level window. I am supposed to be enjoying retired life, but this is better. Every sip of water and piece of bread tastes better because so many people are without. There is still sorrow, but it is tinged with optimism that the Russians can be beaten. Many children have not seen the light of day in months, so I take drawing paper and markers to the kids in the bomb shelters, because imagination can be the best toy.Still keeping my head down, Respectfully, your classmate Dennis
From Greg back to Dennis:
Dennie, Thank God. I was getting concerned with the long period out of touch. What an important, horrifying and fulfilling mission. You will remember these events and those you served with for all time. It was a great idea for you to bring drawing papers and markers for the kids in the bomb shelters! Hopefully, that little happy memory will help the kids get beyond some of the ugly things they have seen.
I just had a mini reunion on Friday and Saturday. Our brother, Art Athens led a Christian Mens’ Conference, in Northern VA. The topic was Adversity, and ’78ers Andy Funke, Ray Milton, Jim Fiorelli, Ray Lueveno and Mark Fox were all able to attend. Art shared about the loss of his 9 month old baby boy, which tore my heart out. He also shared verses in the Bible that illustrated 1) the reality of adversity and to expect it, 2) how important scripture is to know how to respond to adversity, and 3) to be ready to bear one another’s burdens with those who are suffering, (as you are doing now with the Ukrainians). There was a married Chinese student there who became a Christian while he was in the United States. Now, he, his Christian wife and 9 month old baby will have to find a way to live under repression. I’ll get this out to your large fan base and to the whole class.
All of 1978 is so proud, Greg
Remember, to correspond with Dennis, please write Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your Company to help orient Dennis
From classmates to Dennis:
Jim Degree-Mighty 33rd – You are an inspiration to all of us, and have our daily thoughts and prayers dedicated to you, your colleagues and the good people of Ukraine. My hat is off to you Dennis – I am in awe of you and those like you. You are actually out there doing things that most of us only wish we could do but don’t have the ‘it’ to make it happen. You have ‘it’ Dennis and are actively putting your life on the line to help others – I am proud to know you and have you as a company mate – thank you….Aside from my aforementioned thoughts, I want you to know that you and the Ukrainians still have the full support of all Americans and much of the free world. I also want you to know that due to people making sacrifices like yourself there are people like myself and Tracy who are still able to spend time with family (grandkids) on both coasts. Return safely Dennis – you are definitely a bad dude…
All my respect – Jim
David Bruce -13th Co – I’m sorry I didn’t reply before he went off the grid but let him know that I’m praying Psalm 91 for him and his team.
Rusty Chang-4th – Dennis…the long road still lies ahead for all you there. We can only follow the war closely at home from news reports. In the background we know you are there doing good things that come straight from your heart. From what is heard here, the glimmer of hope is exactly that, hoping against all odds the Ukrainian people will prevail and that democracy can overcome yet another test of a single man’s greedy ambition to subjugate and rule all with brutal force; a leftover relic of the past ‘cold war’ in the brutalist definition. We sometimes wonder how the human race got as far as we did. I’d account it to the balance in life that for all evil there is a preponderance of ‘good’ that will overwhelm and illuminate the darkness. I will echo your 33rd family and our ’78 brothers for your safe passage tending all those in need and continued strength going forward. As always, let your Ukrainian Red Cross team know we are solidly behind them!