With the support of INTERPIPE
November 21, 2023
“Ukrainian Pravda” asked INTERPIPE about support for mobilized employees.
In communication since the first day of the war
In the main office, there is a warehouse of military trophies: Russian peacoats, burnt helmets, fragments of mines, grenade launchers, shell casings of all sizes.
“These are exhibits for the future museum. Our military is bringing them,” says Lyudmila Novak, director of communications at INTERPIPE, who after the full-scale invasion headed the corporate headquarters for helping the mobilized.
Lyudmila Novak, Director of Communications of Interpipe.
Photo author: Valery Kravchenko
Lyudmila refers to INTERPIPE employees who are fighting and military units under the patronage of the company as “ours”. They have been receiving systematic assistance since the first days of a full-scale invasion.
“We gained the first experience of targeted support for employees back in 2014, when about 300 people were drafted into the army. They had neither uniforms, nor body armor, nor helmets, not to mention collimator sights and other equipment. And we took it upon ourselves to ties to provide them. Body armor was found in Great Britain, it was military second-hand. They were handed out to everyone personally. In addition, we helped families, adapted the soldiers after their return, we are still taking care of the child of the employee who died near Ilovaisk,” Lyudmila says.
In February last year, more than 800 INTERPIPE employees went to the front at the same time. All the soldiers were distributed among PR girls, during three days they called everyone and offered help. This is how the corporate headquarters for assistance to the mobilized was formed, whose managers are constantly in contact with the military, provide them with ammunition and equipment, accompany them during injuries and illnesses, provide legal assistance and simply provide moral support in difficult moments.
“The entire company is involved in the activities of the Headquarters. In addition to us, buyers, logisticians, lawyers, doctors, military personnel. During this time, we became experts in tactical footwear, clothing and equipment. We learned to support the mobilized not only with parcels, but also in other areas – to help during complex injuries, in case of delayed military payments and in other matters. Currently, 940 mobilized and 36 veterans are under our care. Each of the five managers has about 200 people, each soldier is a separate unique story of help,” he continues she.
A separate line of work is the patronage of military units, in which many of the company’s employees serve.
“We help seven military units on an ongoing basis. Each brigade has a person who is responsible for communicating with us about their needs at the brigade level. Usually this is large and expensive equipment such as cars or modern drones,” Lyudmila explains.
Individual aid kits for fighters
We go down to the warehouse. Previously, there was a conference hall here, ceremonial events were held, now they store military ammunition and collect parcels for the front. In the boxes are winter uniforms, shoes, thermal underwear, fleece jackets in sizes, on the shelves are boxes with medicines.
Manager Victoria collects another package for the military
Photo author: Yevhen Sabadyr
“Here we have knee pads, sapper shovels, plate carriers, sleeping bags and much more. On the racks there are drones, thermal imagers, tablets. We do not have a permanent set of aid, it is formed for each soldier individually and depends on his current tasks at the front, military specialty , state of health. For example, in addition to basic ammunition, sappers need sappers’ bags; scouts – drones, communication amplifiers, tablets; shooters – collimator sights; mechanics – tool sets,” says head of staff Svitlana Manko.
We go up to the office. Managers are actively working: they write messages, talk to soldiers on the phone. I hear, by the intonations, that everything is fine.
“We try to structure our work in such a way that for a mobilized person, the number of his manager is one of the most important in the phone book. After all, we are able to provide help in the most critical situations,” Svitlana notes.
And there are enough critical situations at the front. Every manager of the Headquarters lost his wards more than once, supported dozens of soldiers during their injuries, visited them in hospitals. More than once, he was the first person a soldier called after leaving his position.
“Somehow they called from an unknown number, and the voice is familiar. It turns out that the guys were ambushed, two of the seven people survived, after all, the phones burned down. And the fighter knows my number by heart,” says manager Alisa.
“And I got a call from a guy who had a fragment stuck between his aorta and spine. He tells me that he is wounded, and I hear blood literally dripping from his mouth“, says manager Iryna.
Medical support of military personnel and veterans
We enter a small bright and spacious polyclinic. Company employees and their relatives receive treatment here. There is a working atmosphere in the manager’s office. In addition to other duties, she is responsible for providing military medical support.
“During the service, we provide the boys with the necessary medicines, we also issue general seasonal kits – in winter, for example, these are antiviral, antipyretic, adsorbents, antiseptics, painkillers, antifungal drugs, dressing materials. If a fighter requests specific drugs for a course of treatment, we contact , we clarify, we convey what is necessary. A widespread problem is hernias, pain, back injuries due to a heavy load on the spine. In addition to symptomatic drugs that block pain, we help boys with orthoses and corsets,” says Tetyana Kaptelova.
Tatyana Kaptelova, head of the Interpipe polyclinic
The Headquarters is also involved in case of injury or serious illness: civilian doctors provide advisory assistance, the Headquarters purchases medical equipment, organizes the necessary diagnostics, and rehabilitation measures. Assistance does not stop after demobilization.
“Men at the front are on adrenaline, there the body in the rain or in the trenches concentrates its forces and works on reserves. In civilian life, adrenaline decreases, many symptoms of various diseases appear,” the doctor explains.
INTERPIPE veterans undergo an in-depth medical examination. Some have a stomach ulcer, some have a hernia, etc. If necessary, the boys receive treatment at the expense of the company, undergo rehabilitation measures.
Rehabilitation after severe injuries
One of the options for physical rehabilitation of a veteran is classes at rehabilitation centers for military personnel of the Recovery national network, founded by Viktor and Olena Pinchuka. In total, there are already 8 such centers in Ukraine to make rehabilitation available in most cities. In them, fighters with complex injuries and amputations will be able to restore the functionality of a limb or master a prosthesis.
We are going there. The rehabilitation hall is full of work: rehabilitators return soldiers and civilians to a full-fledged life after serious injuries. Each patient works out intensively for three hours during the day according to an individual schedule, of course, not consecutively. For example, it can be classes with a physical therapist, classes with a psychologist, and training on a bicycle.
Fighters perform daily exercises under the supervision of doctors of the rehabilitation center “Recovery”
One of the two dozen patients in the hall is INTERPIPE employee Roman, a veteran of the anti-terrorist operation, who defended the Donetsk airport. He returned home in 2016. Before the full-scale invasion, he worked at the factory as a crane driver. When the full-scale invasion began, he went to the Military Commissariat without hesitation.
Roman, INTERPIPE employee, veteran
“I ran for 9 months until I got caught,” Roman laughs and holds out his injured leg. “We were going to reinforce the scouts, and on the way we were covered by ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles – ed.). I received a shrapnel wound in my leg and a severe contusion. I lay in the field for a day , then they found me. My comrades barely pulled me out of there, put me in an evacuation center. The car blew up on a mine. I came to when my head was being stitched up in Druzhkivka,” he says.
Roman cannot remember anything after the explosion of the evacuation car. He only knows about the consequences – a shrapnel injury to the head, neck, and hand. He spent 10 days in intensive care – doctors fought for his life. Plates were used in the spine and head, the leg was plastered, and the arm was assembled in parts. He spent half a year in Kyiv for rehabilitation, now he is continuing his recovery in Dnipro. Here he was able to stand up from the wheelchair.
“Now the rehabilitation is in full swing! I can walk with you. I can go up and down the stairs!” – exclaims Roman happily.
Together with the physical therapist Anna, he goes to the simulator. It looks like a big comfortable bike with a screen in front, like a Tesla. It is adjusted individually for each patient. On the screen is a computer game, Roman “plays” with his injured leg, slips a basket of carrots to a bunny, and in reality develops a limb.