By Valentin Mauduit
Thursday March 10, 2022, close to La Ferte-Bernarda convoy is organized for Ukraine.
At the wheel, Jean-Marc Veyron. This retiree did not hesitate for a second when he saw the announcement of the Catholic Relief for a departure to the country of all current concerns. If Jean-Marc is so sensitive to this situation, there is a reason.
I grew up in Algiers, I left the country on July 5, 1962, there were shootings in the city. I never expected to see this again one day.
“Poles are great”
Despite his wife’s pout, he had already made his choice. “I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. He hit the road – with a truck loaded with equipment – with another person for 2,000 kilometers until Przemysl in Poland.
On site, everything was organized. “From my past offormer military, I have contacts. And it’s very important, it avoids wasting time there. They guided us. »
And for the families to bring back, their French future was assured. “We had found a base for them before leaving. »
For a woman, it was Marseille with friends. For a mother with her two children, “a couple in Eure found them accommodation, a job for her, and took care of the schooling little ones”.
Once there, Jean-Marc is taken aback.
The Poles are great, there is crazy mutual aid. They helped us unload the truck. It’s the first time I’ve seen this in Europe, and I even said to myself ‘Europe is being born thanks to this’.
One old supermarket serves as a reception center. And there, he remembers… the tears rise at the same time. “I still see this old lady in tears getting out of a bus, she only had her dog. Or children… You see people’s distress. »
On site, the atmosphere is calm.
They argue with each other, but even though they’re on the right side physically, their minds are still there. I can say it, that’s what happened to me in Marseille in 1962.
Jean-Marc went to the Ukrainian side. Fortunately, no bombardment there! “It was very secure, and we are very controlled. The numbers of our vehicle are noted, our identity also. I hope there will be no traffics of humans. He has seen videos of what is happening at the front. “And I can tell you that the Ukrainians are insanely brave. They hurt the Russians very badly. »
A stop at the KFC
On Sunday, 4 p.m., it was time to leave. There are many stops. “We had to stop for the little ones. Then, Jean-Marc tells an anecdote, his eyes misty. ” I hate the KFC, Mcdo, and other fast food, but here they wanted fries. We stopped at a KFC, everyone was relaxing. Above all, I was marked by their dignity, they were not beggars. They held their heads high! »
The retiree explains that he offered a stuffed animal to the little one, he was happy when we see the face of this child in the photos that Jean-Marc shows us.
For the single woman, she was dropped off in Paris, “we contacted the Red Cross, she slept in an Ibis before returning to Marseille by train the next day”.
For this little family – “without the dad, I can’t draw you a picture of where he was” – they found the host couple in Chartres. An unbreakable bond has been created between all these little people.
We promised to meet again. And this summer, I want to have a party with the Ukrainians who have arrived in the area, I know there are some. I have a big house, I can organize it. Above all, don’t let them go!
“I’m going to leave”
He won’t let them go. A new convoy is planned after mid-April. “I’m going to leave,” he announces. Before adding, “if some want to come, or also give hygiene products, flashlights, coloring books, blankets, baby bottles…”
Jean-Marc Veyron. Contact: 02 54 67 01 95 or 06 79 68 64 07.
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