DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Two Dayton-based folk musicians who have been playing benefit concerts for Ukraine are traveling to the war zone with a delivery of life-saving medical supplies.
Brett Hill, also known as Brother Hill, and Benya Stewart are Appalachian musicians from Ohio who have collaborated with Ukrainian musicians to promote traditional folk music and international cultural solidarity.
“If we can show any single Ukrainian that might think that they’re alone in this struggle that they’re not alone, there are people across the world who stand with them, and ready to keep in this fight to tear this empire down, we’ll do whatever we have to get that point across,” Hill said.
Hill aims to clear misconceptions that others may have about Ukraine and its people.
“I think just a lot of people just have this old soviet image of what Ukraine must be like. Just old farmers out in the country, people who are ready to serve the next dictator. But Ukrainians are fiercely sovereign, self-identifying, modern, technologically advanced, savvy, regular people.”
Hill and Stewart began organizing statewide shows through the Ohio With Love Campaign when war broke out after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
The campaign’s mission is to send direct support from the people of Ohio to the people of Ukraine. So far, it has raised over $30,000 and allocated these to Ukrainian initiatives, according to their website.
From Ohio With Love has delivered 245 medical kits directly to the Ukranian front. Hill and Stewart made their first delivery in May 2022, and now they are set to make another.
Hill said these kits are difficult to access across Europe and nearly impossible to find in Ukraine. Delivering them from America by hand is one of the safest and most efficient methods to ensure a safe arrival to those who need them most.
They are scheduled to begin the journey on an Oct. 17 flight to Poland. From there, they will make their way back to Ukraine where three members of their folk band live.
Those interested in donating to the Ohio With Love campaign can do so here.