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Denver veteran returns after 6 months volunteering in Ukraine

Navy veteran Dan Taylor volunteered his time training Ukrainians who may end up on the battlefield.

DENVER — For the past six months, car maintenance hasn't been top of mind for Dan Taylor.

“Came home, and the vehicle definitely needed work," Taylor said, standing outside a Discount Tire shop in Denver. 

Fixing up his Jeep is just another item on a long list of tasks put on the back burner since Taylor left for Ukraine on April 15.

“My simplest answer is it just felt like the right thing to do," Taylor said, describing his impulse to pack up and leave for a war zone. 

Taylor served six years in the Navy and works as a professional security guard. He figured he could share his knowledge and skills to help Ukrainians who might end up on the battlefield.

“I connected with Dark Horse Allies which is [a non-governmental organization] we have been training a lot of people in Ukraine through," Taylor said.

Taylor said he and fellow U.S. military vets volunteered to offer survival and medical training to Ukrainians. Some, like Taylor, have spent months in Ukraine.

"They’re teaching basic defensive tactics, familiarization with being on a battlefield," Taylor said.

Taylor said he worked all over Ukraine and was close to the front lines. 

“Anytime there’s a lull in conversation, you hear artillery just roaring on and on in the background," he said, describing his time in and around Kherson, Ukraine.

Before the conflict in Ukraine, Taylor said he'd been saving up to buy a new motorcycle. Instead, he spent his savings to fund his travel and stay in Ukraine. 

“We’re taking the knowledge that we have from our group and from people that have taught us and passing that onto these guys to give them a fighting chance," Taylor said.

He's home for now, and has some loose ends to tie up, but Taylor is already planning his trip back to Ukraine.

“I’m going to keep going back as long as we need to be there," he said.

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