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Outdoor Companies Are Rallying to Help Ukraine

We often struggle to grasp the human impact of something like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine until the suffering we see on television and social media is distilled into something we can understand. For me, that moment came last week, when an image of a kayak in the sky blue and sunflower yellow of the Ukrainian flag stopped my scroll.

The boat was part of a fundraiser by Pyranha kayaks, a small company founded and run by whitewater lifers. The picture led to a blog post that started this way:

“We have ceased all shipments to Russia as of the week before last and have heard from both of our Ukrainian dealers that they are preparing to defend their homeland in any way they can,” it said.

“These are our dealers in Ukraine,” it continued, between a pair of photographs. “Mike, with his family… Anton, with his paddling crew.

“These are wonderful people.”

That is when the human impact of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine finally hit me in the gut. I’d been reading all week about families split by war, seeing images of with mothers, children and even pets fleeing west while men stayed behind, compelled to kill or die in a conflict they could hardly have comprehended weeks before.

Anton’s photo, all smiles and shakas from a snowy riverbank in Ukraine, could have been taken on any of a dozen rivers I’ve run in West Virginia, Colorado or British Columbia. And Misha’s family portrait looks much like my own, down to the way his daughter leans into his shoulder for comfort, as if it will always be there.

That familiarity is one reason the Ukraine war has captured headlines and occupied minds across the western world. These are people who find joy on rivers and mountain trails, and have chosen careers that keep them close to the outdoors. People like us.

Continue reading the complete article by Jeff Moag to learn how outdoor companies are continuing to help Ukraine.


December 3, 2023

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