In the midst of a week off from Metallica‘s recently launched European leg of their M72 world tour, singer/guitarist James Hetfield took some time to visit an injured Ukrainian soldier who is receiving treatment at Vail Health Hospital in the singer’s Colorado hometown. As reported by the Vail Daily, Ukrainian serviceman Roman Denysiuk was brought to the Vail Valley for treatment through the local non-profit Limbs For Liberty on May 11 after a fall from his wheelchair that resulted in him re-fracturing his femur and necessitating surgery to repair the leg.
During his recovery, Limbs For Liberty co-founder Kelli Rohrig visited Denysiuk and while getting out of her car she ran into Hetfield in the parking lot. Rohrig described Denysiuk’s situation to the singer and asked if he had time to visit the soldier. Hetfield said yes and reportedly met with Denysiuk and another Ukrainian patient, Igor Voinyi.
“Metallica’s songs are very popular in Ukraine,” said the men’s translator, Olga Milinan. “Growing up, we all listened to them and dreamed of seeing them.” The paper also noted that when the men were asked if they were familiar with Metallica, they rolled their eyes assured her, “Yes, of course.”
“It was unexpected,” Voinyi told the paper. “I didn’t even believe it at the first moment that it was him. It was very short, but it was a very warm meeting. It would be nice to meet him at a campfire and have a drink, instead of the hospital.”
Milinan said that during the pop-in Hetfield “wished the men luck and get better soon.” Hetfield reportedly appreciated the opportunity, leaving a sticky note on Rohrig’s car that read, “You made my day.” Just month after the year-plus beginning of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, Metallica donated $500,000 to World Central Kitchen through their All Within My Hands charitable foundation to help feed Ukrainian refugees. Limbs For Liberty works with doctors and physical therapists to create prosthetics for Ukrainians who’ve lost limbs in war.
Metallica will hit the road again on Friday (May 26) with a show at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, Germany.
Check out a picture from the visit below.