HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WSAV) – The fighting, the stories and the images from the war-torn country have spurred many people to go to Ukraine to help.
That includes one Hilton Head man who wants to help a vulnerable part of the population near and dear to his heart.
Jeff Prekop is a business owner, in charge of Groomingdales on Cardinal Road. But for the next two weeks, he isn’t cutting pups. He is a driver, a shuttle service, a man helping the people and animals of Ukraine.
“It was a picture of a girl who I saw was carrying a German shepard and it weighed as much as her, and she carried him I think ten miles across the border,” rememberer Prekop.
It was images like that and videos of animals amongst the rubble that gave Prekop a mission.
“Seeing that dedication, who am I to sit here and groom dogs?” he said to himself. “Which is fantastic and I love it. But I know there’s a greater purpose.”
That purpose: temporarily leaving his Groomingdales business behind, going back to his wife Jan’s father’s
homeland and volunteering his time to the effort.
“I couldn’t sit back and not help,” said Prekop. “I live a cushy life and these animals deserve every bit that I could give to them.”
“One of my friends said, ‘Are you crazy?’ And I said, ‘Yes, just enough.’ Because somebody’s got to do it and I know I can help.”
Prekop will be helping people and animals by driving across the border, dropping off much-needed items and bringing back the pets to a kennel still under construction.
“They are running out of food, running out of supplies,” he said. “It was just… it was truly a calling I felt it in my heart I have to do something about this.”
He’s packed a bag with clothes and supplies. But the biggest thing he is taking — a personal drive to make a difference.
“It’s like whatever gets me to the animals,” Prekop smiled. “Whatever I can do to help out, I will put myself in harm’s way if necessary. I don’t want to get blown up but those guys are truly inspirational to me to see all the things they’ve done.”
Prekop will spend at least the next two weeks in and out of the country. He may stay longer, he says, if necessary.
If you’re interested in helping the animals in need you can visit War Paws, Breaking the Chains or Dogbus Transporting Paws.