SIMMS - The community of Simms recently raised more than $2,500 for two previous exchange students from Ukraine.
Student body president Lilly Woodhouse is one of the driving factors behind the support.
Her Ukrainian friend Herman Horetskyy has been sending her videos and pictures while in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine.
“I met Herman when I was a sophomore and he was a senior and him and I were friends while he was here, and once he went back we kind of fell off a little bit and we just recently reconnected about four months ago,” said Woodhouse. “And then about a month ago once this invasion started to get really intense we have been in a lot closer contact.”
“He would send me videos of the bombings and the sirens going off, and this was just, like, insane. I can’t imagine being in his shoes, that feeling of hopelessness," she said.
But she said the hardest part was when she saw a picture of him after he got a haircut - that was when the reality of the war really hit her: “Herman has long hair, that's just who he is. So when I saw a picture after he had to buzz it in case he had to go into the military it really said to me that this is scary. And it’s so weird that something so small can hit so hard.”
Herman will be receiving half of the proceeds while the other half goes to another previous student who is still in America, whose family is still in Ukraine and she will be sending her half to them.
Herman says he is grateful for his time in Montana - not only because of the experience, but because of the people.
“Looking back I realize that I not only spent my time in Montana but I made friends there and that is the best treasure,” said Horetskyy.