Op-Ed from Jericho Sky Magallon in Ukraine: Devastated Ukrainians need support

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By Jericho Skye Magallon

To my fellow Ojaians and beloved community:

I am, like you, overwhelmed and angered by the horrendous acts that are being carried out in Ukraine. The people here were living peaceful lives, very similar to how life in Ojai currently is. 

People went to work, visited family and friends and had dreams and aspirations. And on Feb. 24, their lives were torn apart by missile strikes, bombing raids and a full-scale invasion. 

Imagine enjoying a peaceful day in downtown Ojai and suddenly there are artillery rounds dropping all around you, killing your friends and family. 

Picture tanks driving down Ojai Avenue, opening fire with high-explosive rounds destroying the buildings and killing anyone in a 60-meter range. Or missile strikes blowing up Ojai hospital with civilian patients inside before they move on to target and destroy the kindergartens and schools with innocent children inside. 

That is what the actual reality for the people of Ukraine has been like for the past five weeks.

During my past four weeks here, I have witnessed the very worst of humanity; maternity wards intentionally bombed with new babies and mommies inside, elderly people shot and killed as they walked to their local pharmacy. Young girls raped by multiple men, then burned alive.

Two days ago, we went to a known enemy location where a large number of Orcs (our word for the enemy) were stationed. 

We found blown-up schools, people buried in their own back yards, houses raided and destroyed and 50 young girls from the village were kidnapped and are still missing. 

The news can’t show this because it is too horrific, but it happens every day out here while the Orcs occupy this land.

I have also seen the best of humanity while I have been here. Locals band together to fight for each other to face insurmountable odds.

They fight to protect their families, their homes and their way of life. I am proud and honored to stand beside people from all corners of the world — Canada, United States, Scotland, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, South Africa, Denmark and many more countries.

These brave and selfless women and men have taken the personal initiative to put their comfortable lives on hold and have spent their own money to get here and sustain their families while they're away and are risking their lives and limbs to protect and defend people they have never met before.

I am 100% certain we will win this war. Our moral and spirits are high, the people here are fighting for literally everything, while our

enemy fights for nothing. We must continue to disrupt their operations and continue to break their will to fight and victory will be ours.

Until then, we fight tirelessly to protect and defend the innocent people of Ukraine from the vicious and insidious aggressors.

I do ask for your support at this time as we don’t currently possess all the necessary items to make us as effective as we possibly can be

and to protect my men as well as they possibly can be. 

Some of my men don't have ballistic helmets or proper ballistic plates that protect us from gunshots and flying shrapnel. The weapons we are using are outdated AK-47s from the Czech Republic. 

My two snipers cannot perform to their fullest capabilities because they don’t have sniper rifles or scopes. We are not able to conduct night operations at this time because we do not have night-vision goggles. 

Our vehicles are slow and bulky and do not afford us the opportunity to move quickly without being restricted to the roads that are often blown up by artillery. 

We try to assist locals with what little money we have because they have nothing, but it is not sustainable as we are all volunteers and are not being paid for our work here. 

Any financial contributions you can make are greatly appreciated and they will make a tremendous difference for the Ukrainian people and for the safety and well-being of my team. 

I know that with continuous help and support from you we will be victorious and we will return peace and order to the people of Ukraine.

Thank you for your time and thank you so much for your support!

Glory to Ukraine! 

Glory to heroes!

— Jericho Skye Magallon, 26, left Ojai on March 5 to join the International Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine to fight as a volunteer against the Russian invasion.


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