University of Tennessee

Greg Curtin

Embodying the Volunteer Spirit, alumnus Greg Curtin traveled to Poland and threw himself into relief work for Ukraine.

- Alumni

Greg Curtin (HCB, ’10) has the heart of a true Volunteer. Curtin was living in the Netherlands, working as an entrepreneur when news reached him of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I couldn’t stay where I was,” Curtin says. “I immediately felt the need to help the people of Ukraine.”

Curtin flew to Warsaw, Poland, and began volunteering at a center for Ukrainian refugees. At first, he was handing out water bottles, setting up beds and doing whatever was needed to help. As he worked, he identified other ways he could contribute. He saw a pressing need for medical supplies, food and water.

Leaning into experience he gained working with distribution channel management at companies in Africa and China, Curtin applied his entrepreneurial spirit and looked for ways to bring needed supplies to the Ukrainian people.

Initially, he traveled around, asking city officials and hospital administrations what was needed and immediately ran out to fulfill the request. Through this process, he identified nine trustworthy supply chains to bring supplies to people and groups in need.

“In two months, I went from scrapping on the street to having a proper warehouse,” says Curtin.

From the warehouse, Curtin manages deliveries and volunteers who, like himself, have come from around the world seeking a way to provide help. His days are busy and entrepreneurial in nature – whatever needs doing, he does.

“If a truck needs unloading at 2:00 a.m., you just do it,” Curtin says. “If the southern region needs water, you take it to them. If the northern region needs medical supplies, you find a way to get it there. We just get it done.”

Curtin describes this process as a “hurricane of momentum.” While the work is constant, it is also precisely organized. He documents all deliveries, taking time to thank donors and let them know where their donation provided aid.

“We are trying to help as many as possible as quickly as possible,” he says.

As Curtin continues to expand his volunteer network, he hopes to create a more consistent supply chain of needed items. He says he would like to build relationships with large donors interested in connecting with his network.

“As a smaller group, we work quickly,” Curtin says. “We can plan our supply chain much easier and can get goods into the smaller towns directly to the people and hospitals who need them.”

He plans to continue to grow his network of volunteers and donors and help as many people as possible.

“One day at a time, we’re building our supply chain as strong as it can be,” Curtin says. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to provide help – it’s the most useful I’ve been in my entire life.”