Donate ballistic vests to Ukraine freedom fighters; this request comes from a retired chief in Illinois 


Pictured on graphic: Two of the children adopted from Ukraine by Jennifer Doloski.  

March 7, 2022

A retired Illinois chief whose sister has close ties to Ukraine is asking Illinois police agencies for donations of ballistic vests to help the people in Ukraine defend their country. Information about how to donate is below. 

In short, Retired Mokena Chief Steven Vaccaro’s sister, Jennifer Doloski, and her husband adopted three boys from Ukraine in the past decade, and the head of the agency that they worked with in Kyiv was killed by sniper fire on February 26, 2022. 

Two other members of that adoption agency team are now fighting for the country and have issued an urgent request for ballistic vests.  


In 2012, Doloski traveled to Ukraine and adopted their son, Joshua, from Mykolaiv, a region on the Black Sea in the southern part of the country. Joshua’s mother had died, and while his healthy older brother was fostered and later adopted by a Ukrainian family, Joshua’s medical needs were too complex for Ukraine’s medical system.  

He was placed in an orphanage, where the Doloskis met him. Now 16, Joshua is a busy high schooler and continues to receive care at Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago. 

While adopting Joshua, the Doloskis met a boy they would eventually name Caleb and felt moved to adopt him. Though they hoped to begin Caleb’s adoption process immediately, it would be four years before he was legally available for adoption. When they learned he was available, along with his younger brother, Jennifer returned to Ukraine in 2016 so Caleb and David could join their family. Caleb needed medical attention and was soon a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Today Caleb is 16, David is 13, and both boys are honor roll students. 

In 2018, Jennifer began working for Hand of Help in Adoption, the Ukrainian facilitation team that helped the Doloskis (and hundreds of other families) bring their children home ( A “stateside coordinator,” she is the point of contact for many families as they prepare the paperwork necessary for an adoption dossier. 

On February 26, 2022, Serge Zevlever, the founder of Hand of Help in Adoption, was killed on the streets of Kyiv. Holding dual Ukrainian and American citizenships, Zevlever could have returned to the US. He chose not to even as Russia began its first strikes in Ukraine. Zevlever was seeing to the last adoption the team was able to complete.  

His stepson joined the army to defend Ukraine, and Zevlever, 62, stayed with his wife in Kyiv, aiding neighbors and the government officials with whom he had worked for more than 25 years. While accounts of his death vary, all agree that he was killed by sniper gunfire. (A Google search of his name will yield dozens of news stories/video clips nationwide, as he was not only a hero in the adoption community, but also the first American killed in this war.) 

The Hand of Help in Adoption team has scattered throughout Ukraine, with members seeking shelter in remote villages, together or with family members. Two men of the team, Alex and Yuri, have chosen to fight for their country. 

This morning (3/5/22) Yuri sent a request to his American clients for bulletproof vests to supply volunteer combatants. There are groups in Poland helping move supplies into Ukraine, and if we can get vests to Poland, they will be delivered to Yuri. Vests of any size and in any usable condition are welcomed. Donations to cover the cost of shipping the vests would also be humbly accepted.  

How to donate:

Send your vests directly to the address in Poland, using a FedEx account number that Vacarro or his sister can provide. Reach out to Jennifer Dolski at [email protected] or Vaccaro at [email protected]. You will ship the vests to: 

                     Miroshnyk Maksym 


Gorlicka 21/12 

Wroclaw, Poland 

Phone +4851644039 

Please contact Jennifer Dolski or Steve Vaccaro for more information or more direction.