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Wasilla veteran serves again as he gets ready to head to Ukraine

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 3:48 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 16,000 foreigners have volunteered to fight for Ukraine against the Russian invasion, according to a post from him on Telegram. One of those people applied from here in Alaska.

Wasilla resident Joshua Cropper, 41, who is a currently dog trainer, served in the Marine Corp in the early 2000s and was sent to Iraq during his time with the military

“I know how to fight, I’m not that great at it, it’s what I was trained to do,” Cropper said.

Now, he is going to continue his service and has volunteered to go to Ukraine.

“So I don’t actually want to go to Ukraine, I’m just willing to go,” Cropper said. “I want to help the average person as much as possible.”

Part of his inspiration for doing this is helping his Ukrainian neighbors in Wasilla.

“A lot of them have families, some might more on the humanitarian aspect, but that just really solidifies and strengthens my resolve to help them out because they’re my neighbors,” Cropper said. “This isn’t some far-flung region of the world, these are people that live next to me me, they live on my street.”

Cropper has called the Consulate General of Ukraine in the U.S. and applied through three different channels and will be leaving Alaska in less than 10 days to head off to the U.S. capitol.

“When I get to DC I’m going to be applying for my ... passport, and after I get my passport I’ll be flying over to Poland,” he said. “I’ll be going to Warsaw, and from Warsaw I’ll be headed to the Ukrainian border to help in anyway possible.”

Before he heads off, Cropper said he has to get his life in Wasilla in order.

“I still have to work, I still have work obligations that I’m tying up,” he said. “I’m starting to refer the people that call me for training — I’m a dog trainer — the people that call me for training, I’m trying to plug them into other options in the Valley and in Alaska. But I’m packing, I’m trying to put my personal life in order as far as wills, and whatever I can do to prepare for the likelihood of a less than ideal outcome.”

But most importantly, Cropper making sure his own personal animals are taken care of.

“I think that everybody has a place in this world and we all have different duties and obligations.” Cropper said. “I don’t have any kids and if I had kids I would not be going.”

“To be honest I’m excited and nervous all at the same time,” Cropper said.

Business Insider reports that more than 3,000 Americans have volunteered to go to help fight in the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.

“Somebody called me a hero the other day,” Cropper said. “I’m far from the hero, I’m just stupid enough to be willing to go.”

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