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James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica, visits Ukrainian soldiers at Vail Health

Kimberly Nicoletti | Vail Daily

When you’re in the emergency room, any surprise visitor is a welcome sight. But when it’s James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica, then, really, “Nothing Else Matters,” at least for the moment.

On May 11, Roman Denysiuk, a Ukrainian soldier brought to the Vail Valley for medical treatment through the assistance of locally-founded nonprofit Limbs for Liberty, tripped on ridged carpeting getting out of his wheelchair, landing on his previously broken femur, which had a plate in it. He suffered another fracture, but the silver lining was that his initial fracture wasn’t healing properly, causing issues with fitting his prosthetic. The plate had a broken screw in it, so surgeons removed the plate and screws and replaced it with a rod.

While he was recovering at Vail Health Hospital, Kelli Rohrig, co-founder of Limbs for Liberty, visited him. As she got out of her car, a man walked toward his truck and said, “Good morning.” Turns out it was none other than Hetfield. She immediately explained Denysiuk’s situation and asked him to pay a visit to the soldier.