EASST partner awarded Medal of Honour for outstanding support to Ukrainian firefighters

News, Ukraine

Oksana Romanukha, EASST partner and founder of Impact NGO and Claire Hoyland, EASST’s former Director of Post-Crash Response and Co-ordinator of FIRE AID have been awarded the Medal of Honour by the Ukrainian State Emergency Services for the integral role they have both played in the delivery of essential fire and rescue equipment to Ukraine over the past year.

Since February 2022, FIRE AID, EASST, and Impact NGO have supported the UK Home Office, the National Fire Chief Council (NFCC), and the wider fire and rescue industry to donate a total of 86 fire and rescue vehicles, 19 boats and over 190,000 pieces of fire and rescue equipment to the Ukrainian State Emergency Services.

“Ukrainian fire fighters are known as “heroes without weapons” and what they have to deal with every day for the last 16 months of full-scale Russian invasion is far beyond any job description. This story is very personal for me, because my dad, my brother and my uncle all worked as fire fighters in Ukraine. I want to dedicate this medal to them and all the brave Ukrainian rescuers who tirelessly save people every day.” – Oksana Romanukha

The Medal of Honour is the highest recognition of the Ukrainian State Emergency Services and is awarded to those who provide outstanding support and service. It was presented by the Head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and Chief Commandant of the State Fire Service of Poland at a high level meeting in Rzeszow, Poland in May 2023.

“I am completely humbled by the presentation of this medal, it was a very emotional moment where I was holding back tears. The reality of what Ukrainian firefighters are facing every day to protect their communities is heart breaking.” – Claire Hoyland

Since the start of the conflict, Oksana and Claire have both worked closely with fire industry colleagues to ensure the successful delivery of multiple convoys of vehicles and equipment into Poland for onward donation to Ukraine. They have been key contacts between the UK and Ukraine throughout this time, providing essential information on what equipment is needed, ensuring safe passage of the vehicles, and arranging key meetings between UK and Ukrainian officials. Read Oksana’s blog about her experiences here.

“I am so proud of Oksana and Claire and the work that they have put in on behalf of EASST and FIRE AID to get this equipment where it is desperately needed. This award is greatly deserved. Congratulations!” – Emma MacLennan