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‘Saving people’s lives’: Palm Desert community sending medical supplies to Ukrainian soldiers

One valley community is on a mission to put together hundreds of first-aid kits for Ukrainian soliders.

A group at Indian Ridge Country Club in Palm Desert is volunteering their time and money to get medical supplies they hope will make a difference on the front lines in Ukraine.

"The thing is that these kits are literally saving people's lives," said John Swain.

Swain and his wife, Marsha Mercant, along with more than 100 others in the community are banding together Saturday to assemble 750 kits. The boxes of supplies are piling up in their homes.

The group has raised tens of thousands of dollars within their community to get it done.

"We had a meeting on Wednesday, and a lot of volunteers were there," Swain said. "Many of them came up with stories like, 'My grandmother was born in Ukraine.' 'My father was born in Ukraine.' So there's a lot more of a connection here than I thought."

Each kit can be produced for less than $10. This group was inspired to help after a Dr. Dan Olesnicky in Indian Wells started doing the same thing with the goal of saving lives.

"The fighting is not going to stop this week. There needs to be a steady stream of these going out to Ukraine," Olesnicky told News Channel 3. "This is something that we can do here to save a life right now, today."

The Palm Desert group is following Olesnicky's instructions to put together the first-aid kits, which are meant to stop bleeding in combat.

"Regular people like you and me are being thrown into a situation where they're having to fight for their lives, fight for their families and fight for their properties," Mercant said. "We got involved in this because we were moved by what these people are going through."

The group is hoping others here in the valley will follow their lead. For guidance in getting a group together to make more kits, email


  • L/XL vinyl gloves - 4
  • XL surgical dressing or maxi pad - 2
  • Butterfly closure or sterile strips - 4
  • Heavy duty band aids - 6
  • Large gauze pads 4x4- 3
  • Triple antibiotic ointment - 1 tube or a couple of packets ($0.88 Walmart)
  • Self-adhering bandage (eg Coban) or  elastic bandage wrap (eg Ace wrap)- 1
  • Cotton bandage roll or rolled gauze - 1

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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