U.S. Veteran Continues to Help Ukrainians Fight for Freedom, Despite Dangerous Environment
Every once in a while, you have the chance to tell a great story. You are afforded an exceptional main character with a plot that’s both engaging and touching. During our recent podcast episode, we experienced that with US veteran and security consultant Michael Hill.
Mike joined the Army in 2004 and after years of service and two tours in Iraq, he went into the private sector. Mike has done everything from help run security for a private island to high threat protection, you name it. But the reason he was on the podcast is because of what he did earlier this year. Mike joined a few friends in a mission to Ukraine to assist with extractions. He ended up connecting with people in Ukraine’s government and was offered the opportunity to train Ukrainian special forces. Once he started building relationships with those soldiers and got to know Ukrainian civilians and their culture, he felt the urge to do more. Mike decided to embed himself with Ukrainian troops, putting his life at risk for the fight for freedom.
“At the end of the day, innocent people are dying and another country, much larger, with a much larger army, invaded and committed atrocities and they continue to do it. It’s important we as Americans who stand for freedom stand for and defend those fighting for freedom and fighting for land.”
What was supposed to be a one-month long trip turned into an over six months stay in Ukraine. During that time, fighting to retake a village, Hill had a near death experience. He found himself under enemy fire and had nowhere to hide. It was in that moment Hill realized he may not live.
“I was literally shook to my core. I really thought that was it, that was the day. I didn’t think I was coming back after that one. That last round hit, shrapnel hit and went into the tree. I mean I can remember laying on ground and tucking. The bad thing is you can hear them coming. As it’s coming, I can remember, I tensed up, put my head in the dirt, didn’t have any cover, tree trunk, but that’s not much. I can remember praying to God, I didn’t say goodbye to my family, at least let me say goodbye one more time. My girlfriend at the time, everything kind of rushes in, in a brief second and it’s like your life flashes before your eyes.”
Mike was able to jump through a window in a house. “I found a pantry with cement walls, got in there, piled a bunch of stuff on me, and waited. Four to five hours, got hit consistently. they hit all around the house, they didn’t hit the house directly.” I asked why Mike thought Russian troops didn’t hit the house directly and he credits it to divine intervention.
When Mike climbed out of the pantry and reunited with his buddies, he looked up to see all of the rounds from the artillery in the walls of the home he was hiding in. Above the door was a picture of Jesus. He grabbed it and carried it with him for the remainder of his time in Ukraine.
At this very moment you may be questioning why would someone who’s not obligated to serve a country that is in his own put his life at risk and endure situations like this?
It comes down to, in Mike’s own words, one reason, freedom. “Two, what the Russians are doing is wrong. I’ve seen the atrocities that they’ve committed and continue to. You take a look at a kid who has lost everything, their parents, no idea where they’re going, nowhere to go in the world. Someone has got to stand up for them. “
After hearing all of this, you may not be surprised to learn that Mike is once again returning to Ukraine. However, this time it’s under a humanitarian effort with non-profit, Letters of Hope for Ukraine. Mike will join a group of people going over to spread Christmas cheer. The group is delivering generators and other much-needed items to Ukrainians.
A lot of Mike’s trips are almost all self-funded. That’s why he started and Gofundme and has morphed into his very own NGO called Operation Hold Fast. All money that Mike has raised so far, has gone to helping families in Ukraine. If you would like to make a donation, visit Instagram for more information.
This is a minor portion of the interview. Mike also talks about what the warfare looks like and how politics is playing into what’s happening in Ukraine. Take a listen and if you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and check out other episodes on our website, or iTunes, Podbean or Spotify.