Retired Lubbock banker and Big XII referee Mike Liner spent March and April using his experience as a pharmacist to serve the people of Ukraine with Samaritan’s Purse.
A Christian-based organization, Samaritan’s Purse deploys field hospitals to some of the neediest areas in the world. Liner has volunteered with the organization for seven years, witnessing earthquakes in Ecuador, hurricanes in Mozambique, and wounded ISIS soldiers in Iraq — but he says his experience in Ukraine was unlike any other.
“It’s always a bad situation we walk into,” Liner said. “What was different about Ukraine was that the people are just mentally shot over there. I mean, you can just imagine if you’re living in Lubbock, Texas, and the Russians can lob a missile in here anywhere they want to anytime they want to. After a few weeks of that, what that does to you mentally, even though maybe you’re not in the fight.”
Liner arrived with a team of doctors and nurses in the first week of Russia’s invasion. They passed desperate crowds of cars and families that spanned for miles heading to the Polish border. They drove into an uncertain battle on one of the only buses heading east, armed with only flak jackets and faith.