CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The war in Ukraine will hit the one-year mark later this week, with President Joe Biden making a surprise visit to Kyiv Monday. Nearly a year into the conflict, efforts continue in the Capital Region to assist those impacted.

“I frankly didn’t think he would ever go because of the security risk. I think all the Ukrainian community is ecstatic over this,” said Dr. Andrij Baran, President of the Capital District Branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee.

Baran has been one of the main figures in helping local donations get to Ukraine. Since the war began last February, 518 Ukrainians has been able to raise over $1 million.

“For a small community, we’ve done really well,” he explained.

Much of the funding has gone towards medical supplies, but the group has also had the opportunity to send helmets to Eastern Europe.

“You send stuff over, you never know if it does any good. About two weeks after we sent, or purchased the helmets, I got a photograph of a young soldier who was hit in the head by a sniper bullet, right into our helmet, and it saved his life,” Baran said.

The picture he received, showing the young soldier still wearing the helmet, giving the camera a thumbs-up.

“I just almost cried. You know, seeing that young guy who would’ve been dead if we had not sent over the Kevlar helmets,” he said when asked about how he felt getting that photo.

As we approach the one-year mark, Baran says he’s immensely thankful for the support of the American people, but says more help is still needed, “We’re extremely grateful, we hope they don’t forget us, we know they won’t because they value liberty and democracy, that’s what we’re fighting for, we’re fighting for the same thing we fought for in 1776.”

The local community is encouraged to come together in prayer for Ukraine during a service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany at 10 a.m. Saturday.