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Updates from Ukraine: A Log of Asheville Broker Joseph Ruiz's Humanitarian Aid Work

Joseph Ruiz UkraineAsheville, NC: In response to the war in Ukraine, Asheville resident and Mosaic Realty broker Joseph Ruiz has headed into the conflict zone with a humanitarian aid organization, where he is working in logistics to help facilitate medical supplies and personnel into Ukraine.

"The war in Ukraine is devastating children and families. I can't stand by and not contribute when I know that people are needed on the ground to help. The pandemic has created shortages of volunteers within aid organizations, and I feel called to go. Im a little nervous, but know that Im doing the right thing, said Joseph. To the best of my abilities, I'll send photos and updates from Ukraine to help create a personal connection with what is happening. Thank you to everyone who is supporting Ukrainians at this moment."

Joseph is not new to working in conflict zones, having assisted humanitarian aid organizations in various parts of the world before becoming an agent with Mosaic in 2016. The war in Ukraine has called him to serve again. While Joseph is in Ukraine for a month-long tour, his fellow Mosaic brokers will provide real estate support for his clients.

In support of Joseph's work, Mosaic Realty is launching a matching fund drive for humanitarian aid organizations. From now until April 21, Mosaic Realty brokers are matching donations to humanitarian aid organizations up to $18,000 in total community donations.

Matching fund drive update

Together, WE DID IT! As of April 21, our matching fund drive has raised $37,105 in donations to humanitarian aid organizations doing work in Ukraine right now

AND, fellow broker Joseph Ruiz has returned home from his humanitarian aid work in Ukraine. Many thanks to all who made this show of support happen: Joseph Ruiz and other aid workers for their selfless decisions to head into the conflict to help, our community of donors who helped lift up humanitarian aid work in Ukraine, Mosaic Realty brokers and staff (we had 100% of our crew donate) and the Mosaic brokers who helped to assist Joseph's clients while he was away. 

How can you follow along on his journey?

Keep up with Joseph's journey and work by following this blog below, Mosaic's Facebook page, and Instagram account, which will be updated as we hear from Joseph.

A Little Background on Joseph

Joseph has worked in Logistics with a humanitarian aid organization in conflict zones before, and has additionally been a world traveler with The Peace Corps and The Navy Reserves. Below, he is pictured on a past assignment in Africa.

Joseph Ruiz Asheville Realtor Aid for Ukraine

He currently resides in Asheville with his wife and two children.

Joseph Ruiz Mosaic Realty AVL

Days 0-3: Preparation and Travel

In preparation for leaving, Joseph meets with Mosaic Owner/Broker Mike Figura, Office Manager Donita Allen, Broker/ Admin Charles Triber and Marketing Manager Stephanie Sharp to ensure that his clients will be well taken care of during his month away. The team launches plans to create a matching donation to contribute to humanitarian aid work in Ukraine.

Joseph meets with the Mosaic team

Joseph makes late-night preparations to leave for his assignment, trying to keep the luggage light for moving around.

Joseph Ruiz Ukraine Preparations

Joseph Ruiz Ukraine

With a rainy morning departure from Asheville, Joseph embarks on his journey, boarding the first of four flights.

Joseph Ruiz Ukraine Travel

We wish him safe travels and look forward to a report of his arrival.

Joseph Ruiz Departs for Ukraine

Day 4: Arrival and Orientation

Joseph completes the last of 4 flights, landing at a border airport in Poland.

Joseph Ruiz Poland Airport

Here is Joseph, just after arriving in Poland near the Ukrainian border. Now, the work begins! As a Logistician with a humanitarian aid organization, Joseph's main job is to plan, coordinate and monitor all logistics-related activities including all non-medical assistance, (shelter, food, water, hygiene-sanitation and essential non-food items). He also will provide support to medical assistance activities.

Joseph Ruiz Asheville Broker in Ukraine

This is not the first time that Joseph has worked in this role. Below are some pictures of a past mission with Doctors Without Borders to The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Joseph Ruiz in Betou, Congo

Joseph Ruiz in Nord Kivu Congo

At the border of Poland and Ukraine, Joseph reports that there are cars and cars of children headed for the borders. "It takes a while to establish what and where we can help and how. We have different teams here working and trying to get supplies in, securing cars, and meeting local authorities. We also need to get to know the terrain and the threat level of missiles. There is the constant sound of sirens."

We wish Joseph and his team luck as they make preparations to move further into what will be their dedicated area.

Week 2:

Now that Joseph is settled into his dedicated area and working hard to meet people and assess needs, he is not able to provide updates as frequently, though we have received word that he is safe and making some headway with supplies arriving to provide aid for hospitals. His team has a large warehouse to fill.

Joseph Ruiz Ukraine Supplies

Below is Joseph's office and living quarters, when he is in his dedicated town. Curtains must remain shut after curfew. 

Joseph Ruiz Ukraine Room

Resting after a long day of logistics.

Joseph Ruiz Ukraine Resting

Week 3

Today, Joseph and his team are preparing chemical and radiation protection for their team. Joseph reports that "some days it feels like we take a bunch of steps back and other days successes seem so sweet."

Joseph Ruiz Supplies for Ukraine

Joseph and the team leader walk to meet contacts that will enable them to send medical supplies into areas that they can reach. The Mosaic family is grateful to hear of the team's safety and progress, and we will continue to provide updates about their important work as we receive communication from Joseph. 

Ukraine Joseph Ruiz

Week 4

A Ukranian news outlet featured Joseph and his work with a humanitarian aid group this week as they delivered aid to a local hospital. He reports that he is getting ready to wrap up soon and setting up for the arrival of his replacements. He is due home next week, but our matching fund drive campaign runs through April 21st.

Joseph Ruiz News in Ukraine

Fund Drive Update

Together, WE DID IT! As of April 21, our matching fund drive has raised $37,105 in donations to humanitarian aid organizations doing work in Ukraine right now

AND, fellow broker Joseph Ruiz has returned home from his humanitarian aid work in Ukraine. Many thanks to all who made this show of support happen: Joseph Ruiz and other aid workers for their selfless decisions to head into the conflict to help, our community of donors who helped lift up humanitarian aid work in Ukraine, Mosaic Realty brokers and staff (we had 100% of our crew donate) and the Mosaic brokers who helped to assist Joseph's clients while he was away. 

Support Ukraine

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