Sioux Falls man to help Ukrainian refugees at camp in Poland

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 9:24 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls man named Shawn Poe is headed to Warsaw, Poland where he will assist Ukrainian refugees at a site just four miles from Poland’s border with Ukraine.

We were able to spend some time with him before he left and talked with him about his motivation and the support he has that makes this trip possible.

For three weeks now, we’ve heard the air raid sirens, seen the explosions and the fear on the faces of those whose lives have been upended by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In Sioux Falls, Shawn Poe has been watching as well.

“I felt drawn to do something physically in person.”, said Shawn Poe.

Poe had the feeling of wanting to do something to help and when he has this feeling, the past has shown he acts on it.

More than a decade ago when an earthquake devastated Haiti, Poe went to help the injured and the dying.

The unfolding violence and suffering in Ukraine...stirred up that feeling again....of needing to act.

“To let them know that people around the world truly care and love them.”, said Shawn Poe.

Poe’s ultimate destination will be a refugee processing camp in Poland that is just four miles from the Ukrainian border. he won’t be in the war zone but he will be close. His eyes are wide open to the possible risk.

“I have complete peace about this. I know it’s going to unfold how it’s supposed to unfold. Yes I am not going across the border into Ukraine but there’s stuff I’m going to see that I don’t think you can prepare for.”, said Shawn Poe.

Poe will be leaving behind his two daughters; Calista and Elise and his wife Michelle.

“Our motto is one person, big difference. One person can make a big difference and that’s anyone in the world.”, said Michelle Poe.

But it’s tough to not get emotional about the invasion. About the pain and the suffering and the fear and the unknown of what the next two weeks will bring.

“We’ve known each other since we were in 6th and 7th grade...and when there is a person in need he’s there.”, said Michelle Poe.

“Just thinking about what has been done to these people...they don’t deserve it. Nobody should have to endure that. So being able to be there and give them a hug...provide a little bit of assistance is what I’m going for..”, said Shawn Poe.

So on Shawn Poe’s 45th birthday....he took the first step of a 4,851-mile journey. An effort to make life better for those who are now in the midst of the worst.

A group surprised Poe at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. Among them, long time friend Nikki Elsing.

“To actually put his feet on the ground over there and help the Ukrainian refugees just says so much about him, as a man, as a person, as a Dad.”, said Nikki Elsing.

What difference can one person make? Ask Shawn Poe and he will tell you....all the difference in the world.

In addition to this trip, Poe has also successfully raised $130,000 in private donations. All that money will be used to buy supplies for Ukrainian refugees.

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