MILITARY MATTERS: Alabama Veteran Honored for Helping Ukraine Friend
TALLASSEE, Ala. (WTVM) - A veteran who lives 30 minutes west of Auburn is doing what he can to help a fellow soldier in Ukraine, and now this man’s assistance is now being recognized by the Ukrainian government.
71-year-old Gregory Dubay is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who’s now a medical doctor in Tallassee, Alabama. This highly decorated military veteran served for 40 years - including time in the Vietnam War, suffering injuries like the loss of his hearing after serving in operation Desert Storm.
“I’d do it all again, regardless of the cost,” military veteran Gregory Dubay said.
And even after retirement, the soldier is finding ways to protect others.
“Just doing my little bit to ease the mind of a fellow soldier,” Dubay added.
Years before Russia invaded Ukraine, Dubay became friends with a man named Andrei from Ukraine. The two have kept in contact over the years, “messaging every few months... sending pictures... bragging about the fish we caught,” according to Dubay.
When Dubay heard about the invasion of Ukraine, he immediately thought of Andrei and his pregnant wife Mylia.
“I was shocked. He had messaged me about being activated and his primary job was defense of Kiev.”
With food supplies becoming scarce in the war-torn country, Dubay knew he had to help. Over the last few months, he has sent nearly 30 boxes of food and supplies to the couple along with things the Ukrainian army can use like tactical gloves, binoculars, and two-way radios, so that Andrei can communicate with his subordinates without interception from the Russians.
“I’m assisting another soldier who’s having a tough time… am I serving? The Ukrainians thought so.”
To Dubay’s surprise, he received this medal in the mail from the Ukrainian government - as a thank you.
“It’s the Ukrainian cross – glory and merit. Apparently, Andrei recommended me for this award,” Dubay said. “I want Ukraine to be free and I said I’m just doing my duty.”
It’s an award he says he doesn’t feel deserving of, but will hold close to his heart.
Copyright 2022 WTVM. All rights reserved.