During a week long hiatus from Metallica‘s European leg of their M72 world tour, singer/guitarist James Hetfield took time out of his schedule to visit an injured Ukrainian soldier who is receiving treatment at Vail Health Hospital in the iconic singer’s Colorado hometown.
During his recovery, Limbs For Liberty co-founder Kelli Rohrig visited Denysiuk and when getting out of her car she ran into Hetfield in the parking lot. Rohrig described the injured soldier’s situation to the rocker and asked if he had time to visit. Hetfield agreed and met with Denysiuk and another Ukrainian patient, Igor Voinyi.
According to Olga Milinan, the men’s translator “Metallica’s songs are very popular in Ukraine.” “Growing up, we all listened to them and dreamed of seeing them.” And when the men were asked if they were familiar with Metallica, they assured her, “Yes, of course.”
About their experience Voinyi stated “It was unexpected.” “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 added that during impromptu visit Hetfield “wished the men luck and get better soon.” and he left a note on Rohrig’s car that read, “You made my day.”
Shortly 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.