Volunteer of the year: a shining example of dedication and patriotism

Volunteer of
the year: a shining
example of dedication
and patriotism

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainians have stepped in as volunteers, doubling down their efforts over time. While their motivation may differ, all volunteers share one goal – to bring Ukraine closer to victory. In our Avenga team, we have many dedicated volunteers, and today, we want to tell you the story of Nazar Bigun, a Senior NodeJS Engineer, who was chosen by his teammates at Avenga Ukraine as the Volunteer of the Year.

As part of the Ace of Avenga Awards program, our colleagues from Avenga Ukraine voted for the Volunteer of the Year. Everyone had the opportunity to cast a vote for the person they believe shows the most responsibility to our community through volunteering. According to the voting results, Nazar received the greatest support in this nomination and was acknowledged as the winner.

Nazar began volunteering back in 2014, inspired by his mother, who was actively supporting Ukrainian defenders at that time. Over the next eight years, they worked together to raise funds for volunteer battalions, provide medical supplies and food, and help with equipment repairs while sharing updates and reports on their Facebook page.

By the time of the full-scale invasion, Nazar had already proven himself a reliable volunteer and raised considerable money to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Here’s how Nazar looks back on helping people during the first year of the war:

“A lot of people responded, and their help is priceless. They are a constant reminder of how incredible our nation is.”
Nazar Bigun
Senior NodeJS Engineer

Through volunteering, Nazar has met many heroes and caring Ukrainians. Currently, he is a co-founder of the “Help a Hero” charitable foundation. The organization actively raises funds for various activities and needs of our army. They purchase certified, high-quality items such as tourniquets, helmets, and other necessities. We asked Nazar how volunteering has changed since the onset of the full-scale war in 2022 and how he has changed himself. Here’s what he said:

“The workload has increased tens of times. I had to seek partners, set up logistics, carry out official activities, and establish the “Help a Hero” foundation. I had to learn about many things, like the differences between DJI and Autel, which is more resistant to electronic warfare, what thermal imagers are needed for specific purposes, why buying night vision devices cheaper than $2500 is not a good idea, and so on. Initially, fundraisers closed in hours, then days, and now it takes months. I suffered from burnout at the beginning of 2023, and I had to take time to restore my mental health.”

Nazar Bigun
Senior NodeJS Engineer

Nazar’s foundation also collaborates with other volunteers on a project called “HERO-7.” This massive initiative involves the continuous production and supply of drones to the front lines. Everyone engaged in this project has put tremendous effort into setting up logistics with China, finding parts, and researching components. Thanks to their efforts, the approximate cost of one drone is now around $350, which is much cheaper than the market price. Here’s how Nazar recalls 2022 and 2023, mentioning important initiatives and fundraisers he managed to organize:

“In just over a month, we collected more than $130,000 for 366 FPV drones. Overall, we’ve raised over $780,000. We’ve established FPV production, won a hackathon from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, and are developing solutions to boost FPV efficiency. I’ve found the right people to go the distance with.”

Regarding his plans for 2024, Nazar shared: “Our goal is to provide the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with several of our drone solutions to enhance efficiency. We aim to produce 1000 FPV drones per month.”

Volunteer with FVP drones

Volunteers with FVP drones

FVP drones in hand

FVP drones - Help a Hero foundation

FVP drones - Help a Hero foundation

The Volunteer of the Year also shared some thoughts on how to utilize the $1000 donation from Avenga for his foundation.

“Well, it was a surprise for me. There are many worthy people in Avenga who work tirelessly. Recognition isn’t our primary motivation, but it’s encouraging when your colleagues highly appreciate your efforts. I’m grateful to those Avengas who bravely went to the front to defend us. They are the greatest heroes! It’s been an honor to meet some of these remarkable people personally. Don’t stop! Support the army, and let’s lead Ukraine to victory together! Glory to Ukraine!

As for the money, it will be spent on drone research and development. We also got a $10K grant for winning the Hackathon, and we’ll use it to buy components for our system to make our drones even more efficient,” Nazar shared. 

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