Aid in action: TQL’s Eric T. uses logistics expertise to assist Ukrainians
U.S. Navy veteran helps ship meals, grains through Moves that Matter
Eric T. has seen war. He tended to injured military members and local citizens during five years of active duty as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class.
Gunshot wounds, lacerations and stitches for children caught in crossfires were the norm. Eric, who completed tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as a medic with the Marines, worked under a physician to treat everything from soldiers’ war injuries to civilians’ illnesses.
So when he had a chance to help Ukrainians as a TQL logistics account executive and sales team leader, Eric didn’t hesitate to volunteer his expertise. The Atlanta-based broker teamed up with the city of Beaufort, S.C. to deliver 100,000 meals and thousands of pounds of grains to Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.
“War doesn’t just affect the people that are fighting. It affects everybody around you,” Eric said. “It was really on my mind as something I’ve seen and know how it affects people personally. I felt like it was an opportunity to help.”
Eric’s affinity for humanitarian aid hit even closer to home with this Moves That Matter project – his first – because his sister-in-law, Svitlana, is Ukrainian. Her father, Danamo, is still living in the country. He’s the team doctor for a Ukrainian national soccer team comprised of high schoolers.
Beaufort mayor Stephen Murray launched a campaign to supply funds and food to Ostroh, a western Ukrainian city similar in size to Beaufort. Marsh Hen Mill, a marketplace on Edisto Island, S.C., donated 4,000 pounds of grits and 4,000 pounds of cornmeal. SOPAKCO in Mullins, S.C., one of the top three producers for Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs) for the U.S. military, donated 100,000 meals.
The next step was transporting containers from the Port of Charleston to SOPAKCO for loading and back to the port so World of Connections and Operation Ukraine could ship them overseas.
Enter TQL. Mayor Murray contacted Eric directly in April to see if North America’s second-largest freight brokerage firm could assist. Eric has worked with SOPAKCO since around the time he started at TQL in 2016.
“I was like, ‘We have a program that does stuff exactly like this. Let me find out more and I’ll see if I can make it work,’” Eric said.
That program is Moves that Matter, a TQL Cares initiative that utilizes the company’s logistical know-how to move charitable loads at no cost. With help from TQL Drayage Account Representative Robert G., Eric eagerly arranged the transport of 75 pallets of MREs and the Marsh Hen Hill grains from SOPAKCO to the port.
Eric arranged for Marsh Hen Mill to drop off its donation to SOPAKCO and coordinated the entire pickup in early May. Since Ostroh lies less than 200 miles from the Polish border, the first three containers were marked for Poland and set to arrive by June’s end. Another container was stowed in Alabama for later shipment when space became available.
Eric had a chance to meet with Mayor Murray and the other benefactors involved in the Beaufort project. Ultimately, he was thrilled that he and TQL could lend a hand to Ukrainians by doing what they do best – moving freight.
“It was a really cool experience,” Eric said.
About Moves that Matter
TQL, one of the largest freight brokerage and third-party logistics firms in America, debuted Moves that Matter in 2014 to assist nonprofits with transportation costs of donated goods. Moves that Matter’s first partner was the Where Angels Play Foundation, which built playgrounds to honor the 26 children who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. From disaster relief supplies to fresh produce for people in need, Moves that Matter has provided more than $721,000 in transportation needs for 412 loads of donated goods.
Interested in a logistics career at a company that gives back? A career at TQL means unlimited opportunity and great employee benefits. Check out TQL job openings.