PHOENIX — Damien Rodriguez's medals show acts of valor. But, he says, what he went through can't compare to what's ailing Ukraine now.
"At that time, it was not so escalated as it is now,” added Rodriguez.
The former member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, sharing his thoughts, on the current crisis.
"It's a full invasion. This is Russia officially invading Ukraine. A sovereign nation of Europe,” added Rodriguez.
The invasion hits especially close to home for Rodriguez. His fiancé and two-year-old son are in Ukraine right now.
Rodriguez says he plans to travel to the area next week to get them.
"So, you know, my family is my number one. That is my number one responsibility,” added Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is new to Phoenix -- only living here about a month now.
His fiancé and son were also preparing to make the move when the conflict escalated. Rodriguez is vowing to see them soon.
"Oh, the hugs. Being able to just come home after work to see them. My son is growing up so fast. I am missing out,” added Rodriguez.
While Rodriguez is eager to reach his fiancé and son in Ukraine, he's not planning to bring them back to Phoenix. Instead, he only wants to move them 20-25 miles away from where the invasion is happening.
"We'll be right on the border of Poland. They have plenty of defensive equipment that will not get to Lviv. They will protect their border for sure. NATO will help protect the Polish border,” added Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is now preparing for a journey to protect his family.