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Lion Energy partnering with new nonprofit to send solar generators to Ukraine

By Ashtyn Asay - | Apr 5, 2022

Courtesy To Ukraine With Love

Svitlana Miller and Frank Davis are pictured Friday, April 1, 2022.

Like many Ukrainians living in the United States, Svitlana Miller, who now lives in Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls, found herself in a state of shock when Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

“I am from Ukraine born and raised. I came here to study,” Miller said. “Like all Ukrainians, I was completely paralyzed. … All of us were just watching the news, FaceTiming our families; we couldn’t believe it was happening.”

For the first few days after the invasion, it was like Miller was living in two different worlds. She would make breakfast for her children in their peaceful Idaho Falls home, all the while receiving harrowing messages of death and destruction from loved ones in her home country.

“You don’t know what’s going on because one reality is that everything is at peace and everything’s fine and there’s no immediate danger to you, and the other is that everyone that you know that you grew up with, the streets you were raised on, everything is being destroyed,” Miller said.

Miller couldn’t just sit idly by as her countrymen suffered. When her husband received word that he would be deployed to Germany for a military training mission, they began to form a plan to fly much-needed supplies to Ukraine.

“I said, ‘I wish you would ask your commander if, because you’re going to Europe, could we send some aid? Because people need everything; the country is on fire,'” she said.

After receiving permission from military higher-ups and the government, Miller and her husband were left with only 24 hours to gather supplies and funds. They weren’t hopeful that they’d be able to send much aid overseas; however, by the next day, close to $70,000 had been raised by friends and neighbors and 20 drones had been purchased for Miller’s husband to take on his deployment.

“Up until that point, everyone was just kind of wishing they could do something, but no one knew what to do and how to send it,” Miller said. “As my husband left, people kept reaching out and saying ‘can we send any more aid your way?'”

That first trip was where Miller’s nonprofit organization To Ukraine With Love began — and according to Miller, she hasn’t really slept since.

Miller places a special emphasis on sending only what cannot be purchased in Europe on her husband’s flights to Germany. That way, there is room to send what the Ukrainians truly can’t access at this time, like first-aid kits and safety gear for Ukrainian soldiers, drones for finding injured civilians and generators to power ovens.

“Bulletproof vests are worth more than gold right now in Europe; you just can’t find them,” Miller said. “Bakeries are destroyed; you can’t get food.”

The problem is that even in the United States, these items can be expensive and difficult to purchase in large quantities. That’s why when Miller met Frank Davis, founder and CEO of American Fork-based Lion Energy, it seemed like fate.

When Davis heard about Miller’s cause at To Ukraine With Love’s Stand With Ukraine charity dinner on March 26, he immediately wanted to get involved.

“When I first met Svetlana and heard what she is doing for her family, friends and neighbors in Ukraine, I knew I needed to help,” Davis said. “Her people as just trying to survive. Their plight and her efforts touched me deep to my core.”

Fortunately, many of Lion Energy’s products like the Lion Cub Go, a small, portable power generator, and the Lion Safari LT, a portable solar generator, were ideal to help Ukrainians in their current situation.

“I asked Svetlana what supplies are most needed and she said power was at the top along with personal body armor,” Davis said. “I told her my company, Lion Energy, provides personal portable solar generators to people and we could contribute several of these and also contribute portable lights for her people.”

These power generators are compact enough for traveling and can be used in a multitude of ways, including powering cooking appliances and charging phones and laptops in order to keep Ukrainians in communication with each other and the rest of the world.

Davis marked almost $300,000 worth of his inventory as sold and donated it all to To Ukraine With Love. The donated generators will be flown to Europe within the week, where they will be dispersed to different Ukrainian towns in order to provide as many people with power as possible.

Miller is hopeful that her home country will pull through the Russian invasion, especially if it continues to receive much-needed support from organizations like hers all over the world.

“I know that Ukraine can survive this war if we can just hold on a little bit longer, if we can outlast the enemy,” Miller said

For more information on To Ukraine With Love or to donate to Miller’s cause, visit toukrainewithlove.org.

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