Back from Ukraine, Moorhead man hosting fundraiser to ship medical supplies
Mark Lindqust is on a mission to help provide supplies to more than a dozen hospitals in Ukraine where they are sorely needed.
FARGO — Mark Lindqust is on a mission.
The six-year Air Force veteran has not only spent roughly 90 days helping to deliver desperately needed medical supplies to some of the more dangerous areas of Ukraine, but he's also in need of funds to have them shipped there.
That's what brought the Ortonville, Minnesota native, who's been living in Moorhead, back home.
Lindquist, a well-known singer and motivational speaker in the region, will be belting out Frank Sinatra tunes among other Big Band era tunes, while also conducting a Q&A session about Ukraine at 5 p.m. Friday, July 8, at the Sanctuary Events Center, 670 Fourth Ave. N., in Fargo.
The concert portion of the fundraising event will begin at 7 p.m.
A GoFundMe page and a Venmo account have raised more than $100,000 already, but Lindquist said he needs about $165,000 in order to ship 37 containers of hospital-grade medical supplies currently sitting in a Minneapolis warehouse.
Among the supplies are tourniquets, IV and first aid kits, burn bandages, wheelchairs and crutches donated by local health care organizations such as Sanford and Essentia.
"As one doctor there told me, just because the war is going, on doesn't mean disease ended," Lindquist said.
His 25-member "A Team" has delivered supplies to about 14 hospitals during the three-month war, which Lindquist says has no end in sight.
He tells his family, including his parents in Ortonville and sister in Fergus Falls, that he stays relatively safe. His team doesn't work directly on the front lines, spending most time in the bigger cities.
"If I get hit by a missile strike, I'm not going to know it anyway," Lindquist said, adding, "I guess it wasn't my day if that happens."
His team, made up of veterans and others from eight different countries, came together over meetings at coffee shops and at airports, while wishing more veterans would join the team, citing their experience.
Lindquist spends his 18-hour days tracking down where supplies are needed most and trying to gather more medical materials, all while fundraising in order to get supplies shipped.
"If the whole world was like them, it would certainly be a better place," he said, referring to the many Ukrainians he has met throughout his time in the war-battered country. "The world could be like them by duplicating the unity, cooperation and teamwork they are showing."
Once eyeing a bid for Congress in western Minnesota, Lindquist said he thought he would make "the biggest impact" of service to his country by his time in Ukraine, where he plans to be until April 2023.
The countryside where Lindquist and his team work has a similar look to central North Dakota or parts of northern Minnesota, with wheat fields and numerous RDO dealerships. The Fargo-based company has a lot of its John Deere operations in the country.
One of the bigger cities he spends time in is Kharkiv, where he plans to hold another concert at the end of July, showing the Ukrainian people "about the city in America called Fargo, where they care about you."