A Reading personal trainer delivers supplies to the front lines in Ukraine

Nicholas Tenconi

A Reading personal trainer has traveled to the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine to deliver aid to civilians entangled in the fighting.

On the first anniversary of the Russian military forces' invasion of the nation, 38-year-old Nick Tenconi set out on the mission.

He traveled with the humanitarian organization Vans Without Borders, which was founded in March 2022.

The team went to front-line locations, like Donbas.

Nick Tenconi
Many of the kids who live close to the front line, according to Mr. Tenconi, are "smiling" and have an "unbreakable spirit.".

Mr. Tenconi assisted with the delivery of necessities like non-perishable foods, medical equipment like crutches, sanitary products, and anything else that UK citizens donated, like warm clothing and everyday items.

The journey out was hellish, he said. There was a real sense of danger, or more specifically, the threat of consequences.

"Checkpoints, security measures, a panicky atmosphere, power outages, survival uncertainty, overhead missiles, sirens, curfew, breaking news of where next is to be targeted — and that was all before the front line. ".

Nick Tenconi
Mr. Tenconi traveling to deliver supplies with a civilian named Olga.

The team from Vans Without Borders flew to Krakow before taking a bus for 18 hours to Vinnytsia.

"Border control is very rigorous, but I wouldn't say it was any more intimidating than other parts of the world I've crossed the border in," the speaker continued. ".

On the front lines, Mr. Tenconi claimed to "feel safe," and he later realized that feeling had been influenced by the courage of the locals we were delivering to.

"They occasionally wept, but overall they were stoic, and the kids grinned.

An atmosphere of heartbreak rather than fear is produced by the sound of bombing, cars crashing from people attempting to flee hot zone areas, tanks rolling by, soldiers brandishing rifles, checkpoints, burned-out cars, overturned vehicles, and decimated buildings. ".

Nick Tenconi
The bravery of the locals, according to Mr. Tenconi, made him "feel safe" while he was on the front lines.

During his visit, Mr. Tenconi also shared fitness advice with Ukrainian army soldiers using his expertise as a personal trainer.

The Ukrainian people, he claimed, had an "unbreakable spirit," and they seemed appreciative of the supplies but "not defeated."

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