Former Arizona detective transports soldiers, supplies around Ukraine
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A former officer with the Peoria Police Department is now driving people and supplies across Ukraine and Poland. Pat Shearer, a former narcotics detective, made strong connections with Ukrainians during a vacation and felt compelled to help defend the country after Russia’s invasion.
He initially arrived to join the fight but found he could have a significant impact as a driver. “I kept running into families and soldiers who needed rides,” he said during a recent stop at the border town of Medyka, Poland.
The bombed roads and military checkpoints slow him down, but he says he’s learned the most efficient routes. “I know how to maneuver through and get people out faster than having people sit on a bus for sometimes days. The stories I’ve heard about the trains are awful since so many of the tracks have been taken out,” he said.
“I’ve given soldiers rides to their units, where it otherwise would’ve taken them days, but I got them there in one night,” he added.
Shearer has been in the region since March and has two rental cars. One he keeps in Poland, while the other stays in Ukraine. Crossing the border in a vehicle can take hours or even a day or more, so crossing by foot is more efficient. He estimates he’s driven around 300 people and put so many miles on his rental cars that they’ve had to be taken in for oil changes.
His work is self-funded, and he’s received donations from friends over social media. “Ukrainians are very proud. They don’t want to accept anything. They don’t want me to pay for the hotel room. They offer to pay me for gas,” he said.
Shearer shares an apartment in Lviv, Ukraine, with other drivers and volunteers but often sleeps in his car. His mission is open-ended, but he plans to return to Arizona by the end of May.
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