Nathan’s Enduring Legacy: Igniting the Roar at the Heart of ABW
Meet Nathan, an exceptional ABW Responder who goes by the intriguing alias “Ali McSassPants.” If you haven’t heard of him yet, allow us to introduce you. Nathan is an absolute standout among our ABW team, known for his remarkable contributions.
Picture Nathan as a prominent player on the ‘vinyl decks’ of ABW, a true legend. If volunteering earned BRITS and GRAMMIES, he’d need a new shelf for his accolades. Keep reading to uncover the reasons why.
Arriving in Medyka, Nathan’s Trident tattoo freshly inked, he wasted no time. At 22, leaving behind his home in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK, he stepped into the ‘Great Unknown.’ Like countless volunteers before him, he came not knowing what lay ahead. But that didn’t matter; the cause was right, and the rest would fall into place.
Distilling more than a year into a blog post is a challenge. Nathan joined Mission Ukraine alongside numerous volunteers, tackling crucial yet ordinary tasks. Hand-pulling hundreds of tonnes of aid across the Ukrainian walking border was a common sight.
As Actions Beyond Words (ABW) took shape, Nathan assumed a leadership role, guiding teams across Ukraine. ABW stood among the first organizations in the newly freed Ukrainian regions. From Iprin and Bucha to Kharkiv, the backdrop was the ever-present shelling, the resonating sounds of war, and the tangible tremors of buildings.
Weeks turned into months, and Kharkiv transitioned through Balakliya, Izyum, Kramatorsk, and beyond. Challenges arose that would send most people packing, but not Nathan. With the legacy of BREXIT, and a mere 90 days in Schengen, staying legally in Poland was not a reality. So Nathan made a bold decision to remain in Ukraine full-time, leading and coordinating from a different country. Solo drives, nights alone in a hazardous environment—Nathan showcased unwavering dedication.
The self-proclaimed head of motivation crushed this role. For those acquainted with this environment, maintaining morale through humour is crucial. Laughter during the darkest moments, stories shared in the van—these experiences are etched forever. Banter on the radios, playlist sing-alongs, and even nostalgic school hymns filled our days. We even improvised a school assembly across three vehicles. Amidst the long days, roughly 18 hours each, we spent time with volunteers and locals alike.
Nathan departed shortly after his first-year milestone to chase his parachute regiment dreams. Our best wishes accompanied him, and as of this writing, he’s making substantial progress but we can’t go into the details— although it’s fair to say congratulations are in order!
The bonds formed from our shared mission have surprised us all. Friendships extend beyond Ukraine’s borders. Although Nathan moved forward, his legacy endures as a cornerstone for current and future efforts.
Nathan, your contributions to Mission Ukraine, Actions Beyond Words, and the Ukrainian people are immensely valued. Thank you.