Volodymyr Bukovsky, 2017 Team Ukraine Competitor

Lieutenant Junior (LT) Volodymyr Bukovsky, 42 years old

Served in Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone (ATO) zone in East Ukraine, from February 8, 2015, to May 1, 2016

I served on the front for almost a year and a half. I started out with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) volunteer battalion. Then I was deployed to the village of Pisky, not far from the Donetsk airport. Later I served with the 39th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I was injured when I fell from a fire ladder as we were heading to the medical unit. I dislocated my hip joint and now have metal implants. I returned home with two contusions.

I believe in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. If you don’t work on yourself, nothing will happen. I started exercising. Before my accident, it was something I would do occasionally, but now it’s a major part of my life.

If you sit at home, you think of yourself as a cripple. When you come to competitions like the Invictus Games, you see others like you. Your self-esteem improves. You see that these people haven’t given up. You get motivated. You share stories, and this is extremely helpful!

I’ll speak for myself. Those of us who volunteered for the anti-terrorist operations in East Ukraine knew there was a chance we wouldn’t come back alive. And if we didn’t give up after everything that happened on the front, then we certainly won’t give up in our civilian lives!