SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Santa Fe couple decided to pack up their lives and move across the world to help total strangers. The couple doesn’t have any connections to Ukraine, but still felt compelled to do their part. When the war in Ukraine broke out last year, Rocky and his wife, Emmy Durham, didn’t think twice.

The couple booked their first flight to Ukraine in April 2022. After volunteering in Poland and Ukraine, they felt they could do the most by living full-time in a war-torn country. They packed up their Santa Fe home, sold their cars, and moved overseas.

“We moved to western Ukraine and we’ve linked up with organizations over here that help out not only the internally displaced people but any foreign volunteer and Ukrainian military,” said Durham. They’ve provided support services to families who have decided to stay in their home country, and even helped animals in need of shelter.

One heartwarming memory Rocky remembers the most was when two friends who lived in the same subway station for ten weeks with their families were reunited months later. “They met each other again at the aquarium in Lviv and just like seeing these two friends from a city that’s literally a thousand miles away, I mean Ukraine is huge, and here are these two girls seeing each other again,” said Durham.

The couple said that for now, Ukraine is their home. They feel their work overseas is far from finished. Before the move, Rocky worked as a chef in Santa Fe and has been featured in KRQE News 13’s segment “In the Kitchen.” He has been using his skills as a chef to make meals for the Ukrainian families they’ve been helping.