Helena woman returning to Ukraine with local videographer

Jesse Chaney

After spending nearly a month offering aid and comfort to people in Ukraine, a Helena woman is returning to the war-torn country and taking a local photographer and videographer with her.

“I’m terrified,” said Valerie Hellermann, director of Hands On Global in Helena. “ … This time I have a lot of anxiety, but we’re doing it.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, prompting millions of people to seek safety outside Ukraine in what has been called the biggest movement of refugees within Europe since World War II.

Along with other Hands on Global members from other parts of the United States and the world, Hellermann left March 8 and returned to Helena April 1 to establish a medical relief team providing primary care and wound care to those fleeing the conflict. A former registered nurse, Hellermann and other members of her team were stationed in Romania but crossed into Ukraine six days each week and spent the seventh day restocking medication.

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