New Mexicans help Ukrainians as Russia continues invasion

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pleading for more support as Russia continues its brutal attack. U.S. President Joe Biden revealed Wednesday that he plans to send more military support, weapons and drones.

Refugees continue to flee the country, while other Ukrainians are left cleaning up the destruction.

About two weeks ago, KOB 4 introduced you to a Santa Fe firefighter and northern New Mexico emergency room doctor on the ground in Ukraine. Now, there’s an update on their journey and mission to bring humanity to the devastating chaos.

“Lviv is a very vibrant city right now. I mean, there’s thousands of people walking the streets, restaurants are all open. Cafes are all open, and Kyiv people stand in line to get in the grocery stores and food is limited,” said Chris Hammond, a Los Alamos ER doctor.

Hammond and Santa Fe firefighter Rollin Jones are making the trek back and forth from Lviv in western Ukraine to Kyiv – the country’s capital – bringing in aid while helping others get out.

“It’s kind of a nerve-wracking experience going into a war,” said Jones.

Jones spent some of his time training local military, some heading into war for the first time.

“I think it was kind of a comfort for them. I just kind of walked them through, here’s what you do if someone gets shot in the chest, in the stomach, how to pack wounds, how to treat people how to put on tourniquets,” said Jones.

Jones and Hammond have a front-row view of just how life-saving those lessons might be, and they’re doing more than just saving lives, they’re restoring humanity to people now in crisis.

In one instance, Jones and Hammond went inside a bombed apartment building to help her clean up the glass and cover windows.

“We were helping her clean her apartment and she just keeps handing me gifts. Like her house was just blown up and she’s handing me gifts. She offered me shampoo and conditioner three times and I had a beanie and I kept telling her no. And finally, a translator said she wants you to have the shampoo and conditioner and I had to take my beanie off so she would see my bald head so she understood, I don’t have a need for this,” said Hammond.

“She asked if I would marry her and bring her back to the states. So it was a little piece of humanity in a place where it’s chaotic,” Hammond said.

That story remains a sliver of light, as they plan their next move with the Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project.

“The other half of our team is working with the government to do orphan rescues along some of the cities that are about to be overthrown. So we’ll be able to go up and into that to extricate the kids because the town is taken over,” said Rollin.