DENVER (CBS4)- Denver native Bill Daniels is living on the French/Swiss border. As the war in Ukraine broke out, he felt a call to serve.
“I do see this as our fight,” he told Joey Wilson on a Zoom call earlier this month. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something.'”
He packed up his car and drove 2-and-a-half days to Ukraine to deliver supplies to refugees. On the way back he felt like could do more.
“On the second day of the drive I just thought, ‘I want to save Ukrainian soldiers,” he said.
Bill decided to buy and deliver mini surveillance drones to the Ukrainian armed forces. The rationale is simple.
“The drones are expendable but human lives are certainly much more valuable than the drone,” explains Bill’s long time friend and fellow fundraiser Elfego Gomez.
Elfego says he too felt the call to action all the way from Colorado Springs. So, when Bill asked him for help, he had no problem purchasing two drones in the name of his late father who himself is a Vietnam veteran.
“I think my dad would have been very supportive of that I think he would have been proud of me that I was doing something about it,” said Elfego.
Bill has now made 4 trips to Ukraine and brought drones, infrared goggles, helmets and metal detectors with him three of those times. He said the soldiers are grateful.
“People in Ukraine were very pleased to realize that individuals from all over the world were contributing and buying supplies for them,” he said.
He’s planning the 5th run with more surveillance equipment. While it’s a lot of work he says knowing he is saving lives makes it worthwhile.
“It’s been nothing but an honor to deal with these people,” said Bill as he held back tears.
Bill has been paying for delivery costs out of his own pocket but each mini drone costs between $600-$700. He and Elfego are depending on online donations to keep the operation going.