His name is Peace and he’s heading toward a war.
The Sault’s Robert Peace of Rolling Pictures is going to Romania, Poland and possibly Ukraine on a mission of mercy to do what he can to help those fleeing carnage in Ukraine.
"I may not be able to carry someone on my back, but I can still lend a hand. I can still help make a meal, set up a tent, drive a family away from harm and help someone who can’t walk well reach a bathroom" said Peace.
He will be working with an NGO based out of Spain that has strong connections to Romania. It is currently assisting refugees entering Romania and Moldova from Ukraine.
Peace will spend the Easter weekend with his family in Brantford.
On Easter Monday (April 18) he flies to Warsaw and then Bucharest from where he’ll be sent to where he’s needed most.
That will likely be close to Odesa which is near the Romania-Ukraine border and could become a major hotspot.
“The vital port city of Odesa is Russian-speaking and could provide a connection to the Russian occupied Transnistria region of Moldova,” says a recent news article in Air Force Magazine.
“Everything is very fluid,” said Peace, who will be spending five weeks on the mission. “Things change in a moment.”
Why is Peace taking this big step into a difficult and possibly dangerous situation?
“I’m 59. I’ve done a lot of things in life, but if I have the opportunity and find a group that is doing practical things on the ground, then it’s something I want to do.”
Not everybody has the opportunity to provide assistance in such a hands-on way, but Peace does and his workplace has been very accommodating.
Peace wishes everything would go back to normal in Ukraine, but he said that considering the current situation and the destruction, it may take a generation or more to repair the damage.
“Russia figured out they are not going to occupy, so they are just going to destroy,” he said.
Though his main purpose is to help, as a filmmaker, Peace will be documenting the trip.
One of the things that is really important to me is reporting back to the community,” he said.
“There are massive challenges when you live in a country that just found itself with one, two or three million more people overnight,” he wrote about those nations shouldering the bulk of the refugee wave. “We don’t see very far beyond the border crossings on TV, but a much bigger story is developing,” added Peace on his Gofundme Page.
He has reached out to MP Terry Sheehan and the city to discuss providing some help for people looking to come to Canada.
It’s possible that some Ukrainian refugees could choose Canada as a permanent place to settle.
“This displacement is massive,” said Peace.
Anyone interested in supporting Peace’s efforts can visit the Gofundme Page