Hudson Valley Man Dies After Signing Up to Fight in Ukraine
A Hudson Valley man who volunteered to help Ukraine fight against Russia died in combat leaving behind a wife and seven-month-old baby.
According to Newsweek, Willy Joseph Cancel signed up with a private military contract company soon after the war broke out. The 22-year-old said he wanted to do something to help the Ukrainian people because he believed in the cause.
Cancel, who grew up in Orange County, was a former Marine who recently moved to Tennessee to work as a corrections officer. In an interview with CNN, Cancel's mother said the young man was the kind of person who would spring into action to help anyone in need.
It was something that he believed in his heart, that was the right thing. He was the type of man who always stepped up when everybody else stepped back and there were a lot of men who were like that that were with him.
Cancel flew from the United States to Poland on March 12 and made his way into Ukraine over the next 24 hours. He signed up with a private military contracting company and joined the over 20,000 volunteers from over 50 countries who are fighting as a part of the International Legion. The special unit was created specifically for fighters from foreign countries who were willing to help the cause.
The U.S. State Department says that Americans should not travel to Ukraine for any reason. In a statement, the agency stressed that Americans "should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials."