Retired businessman Gary Wasserson never worked in the nonprofit world, but today he calls himself a humanitarian.
The 67-year-old former telecoms executive from Philadelphia is in the middle of Act Two, which begins in 2022. Russia launches all-out attack on UkraineWhen Wasserson’s wife informed him that he had relatives in Ukraine, he was unfazed. In March 2022, he flew to Poland, where he built a network to help pull his relatives and other Ukrainians out of their war-torn homeland in a true grassroots fashion.
Since then, he has relied on what he calls a “team of angels” made up of experts and volunteers to extract hundreds more Ukrainians. His efforts have expanded beyond just transporting his relatives and strangers to safety, as well as helping injured Ukrainians receive prostheses and more.
In Ukraine, via my daughter’s videographer friend documenting the war, He was also related to Vladislav Orlova special operations Ukrainian soldier who was seriously injured by a Russian explosive device in October.
“My experience was a very bad one. The Russians blew up. Something blew up in my car,” Orlov, 27, told CBS News. “I was stuck in the car and a teammate helped me. He lost part of his left leg and broke both legs,” he explained.
Orlov received immediate treatment in two different hospitals, one on the front line and one in Ukraine, which he believes saved his life. However, it soon became apparent that skin grafting, in addition to extensive surgical and reconstructive work, would be required to finally restore full use of the limbs. Appearance.
Find a hospital
Wasserson called the Special Surgery Hospital in New York and said, A top orthopedic hospital in the United States and a leader in trauma care, where his wife previously had back surgery.
“They didn’t even say, ‘Let’s see.’ increase.
A team of HSS surgeons, including orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Duretti Fufa, remotely reviewed Orlov’s X-rays and other medical records to identify his complex bone and soft tissue injuries, as well as open skin wounds. Evaluated range.
“They contacted me with a soft tissue injury in mind and I agreed that we could help in this case.
She emphasized that the initial care Orlov received in Ukraine, including surgery on the tibia and fibula of both legs, was critical in saving his life and limb. I had surgery to save my limbs in , and I wouldn’t have been able to keep my feet if it hadn’t been done by a skilled surgeon.”
Orlov’s girlfriend, Ashley Matkowski, an American documentary filmmaker whom he met in Ukraine during the war, also helped Orlov get the care he needed.
“She compiled his records from doctors who treated him in both public and private hospitals, and we got in touch with her,” Dr. Hufa said.
Wasserson also contacted United Airlines officials to arrange for United Airlines to cover the cost of Orlov’s flight to the United States.
Fund 100% of care
In HSS, Orlov has already undergone many procedures, he is currently healing. In Ukraine it was unclear if he would be able to keep his feet. Today, thanks to HSS, it seems more likely that one day it will be fully functional again, according to Fufa. He is currently recovering from surgery. His medical team is watching him and will assess his condition once his bones have recovered.
HSS covered all of Orlov’s medical expenses, and Wasserson sponsors Orlov under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Solidarity Program for Ukraine. This allows Ukrainians to come to the US for two years, provided they have advocates in the state who insist on financial responsibility.
Wasserson said of Orloff, who now resides in an HSS-owned residence in New York City, “I have agreed to take full responsibility for all financial matters related to his housing, health care, and everything else.
His medical and housing costs are being paid for through HSS’s Charity Care Program, according to Laura Robbins, the hospital’s head of global partnerships.
“When these cases come to us, we evaluate them to see if we can treat them,” she told CBS Moneywatch. We are committed to 100% funding the
“A significant part of why people seek HSS is because of their clinical expertise in doing what they did in Orlov, which is an attempt to save his leg.” Hold on a second, maybe we can save this gentleman’s leg, and that’s what they’re trying to do.’
“I can do almost anything”
Wasserson’s efforts to help Ukrainians escape the war continue as Orlov recovers. U.S. Representative Susan Wilde, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, recently honored Wasserson in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“He helped build a holistic support network to help Ukrainians in need, moving thousands of Ukrainians to safe havens in Poland, Slovakia, Moldova and throughout Western Europe. We have been helping to transport them safely,” she said.
Wasserson said that now, as a retiree, he works more than he did when he was employed.
“I’m busier now than when I was working full-time, because back then it wasn’t about lives, it was about profits and losses, balance sheets. It’s a whole different ball game,” he said. “In business there is always an urgency to get the best results for shareholders.
Ultimately, he demonstrates his ability to make a difference in the network he’s been building over the past 12 months.
“It’s like any other business. Ultimately it’s the people that make the difference. If you know how to build the right network, you can get almost anything done in the world,” Wasserson said. say. “It takes a lot of common sense. Without the ability to figure out which button to press to make things happen, you’d be spinning in circles.”