Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The nonprofit Wisconsin Ukrainians launches a new fundraising project to help a Wisconsin veteran fighting on the front lines in Ukraine. The money raised will go toward an off-road vehicle.

“My wife asked me ‘well what’s your gut saying to you,’ and I said I think I can help these people by being there a lot more than I can by being here,” said Bruce.

After watching the war play out on his tv, Bruce made the decision in March to help the Ukrainian defenders on the front lines, in person. He thought the commitment would last a few weeks.

“Then once I got here and saw really the state here and you see little kids and they’re terrified to even play, and what’s going to happen to them. I thought if somebody were doing this to my country and to my children, I’d hope somebody who had the power or ability to do something to help. Someone who would come and intervene for them and that’s what I feel like I’m doing for them,” said Bruce.

Bruce is serving with Ukrainian defenders and other volunteer veterans.

“I’ve been doing mostly like sniper missions that’s kind of been my job,” said Bruce.

Now, Bruce’s unit needs help and the president of Wisconsin Ukrainians, Jonathan Pylypiv, has organized a new fundraiser to do so.

“Bruce and I served in the Wisconsin army national guard together.”

“This is someone who served our country proudly in the united states military and volunteered to go,” said Pylypiv.

With the fundraiser–“Beards for Ukraine,” Jonathan hopes to help Bruce and his unit purchase an off-road vehicle to complete more missions.

“Sometimes right now, they’re maybe doing without, and they’re not able to actually go do their missions,” said Pylypiv.

If they reach their goal of raising twelve thousand dollars, Pylypiv says,

“We’re going to shave our beard if we reach our goal. And we have a few veterans already, people that served with Bruce and me,” said Pylypiv.

“I’m proud to know him, proud to have served with him, and proud to help him right now in whatever way we can to make sure that he can do his job and come home safe.”