Jimmy Hill was a 68-year-old man from Idaho who was killed in Chernihiv, Ukraine earlier this week on Thursday.
Hill was originally from Minnesota, but had been living in the small town of Driggs, Idaho, near the Wyoming border. He was also a teacher who instructed students in psychology and social work.
He traveled around the world to do so. On one of those trips in the past, he met his partner Irina in Ukraine.
New information is now coming out about Hill’s decision to go to Ukraine and his heroic attempt to save the life of the woman he loved.
Trying to Save Irina
After meeting Irina, Hill fell in love.
Though she had a serious illness: muscular sclerosis that was slowly destroying her body. Back in the United States after teaching, Hill did everything he could to find an MS treatment for Irina.
He eventually managed to get a spot for her at a hospital in Chernihiv where they could treat her and try to reverse the damage of the disease.
Speaking to his sister in February, Hill said he wouldn’t hesitate to go, even though Russian troops were all around the border and the US government was warning Putin might invade.
Hill said he needed to do “everything” possible to save Irina. He believed the invasion would end up not happening, due to pressure from the US and other countries on Russia.
He returned to Ukraine prior to the outbreak of war in February and helped Irina get started on her treatment. There was light at the end of the tunnel, and Hill was working to save the life of the woman he loved.
“He said, ‘I don’t know what I would do if I lost her.'" A sister of Jimmy Hill talks about the love that compelled him to fly back to Ukraine even as Russian tanks lined up at the border. He was killed in a Russian attack on the city of Chernihiv. https://t.co/Ae5e7qoXW0
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 19, 2022
The Day of Hill’s Murder
On Thursday, Hill was at the hospital in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. He was supporting Irina and her mom with her treatments and being there for them.
He wasn’t gunned down in a breadline as some outlets first reported, but actually went to see if some lines of buses near the hospital could be used to help get civilians out.
Even though he was caring for his sick partner, this American hero spared a thought for the thousands of civilians still trapped in Chernihiv who were trying to get out.
Once he got to the buses, he found huge crowds waiting for evacuation. It looked like many people were going to be able to get out.
He started heading back to the hospital, which is when Russia’s military opened up with intense shelling on the civilians, killing Hill.
Jimmy Hill was killed in a Russian attack on #Chernihiv, as his partner Irina Teslenko received treatment
His sister called their relationship a “beautiful love story, but unfortunately it has a tragic ending.”
Read https://t.co/DHW8fiKuw2 | #Ukraine #RussiaUkraineCrisis pic.twitter.com/huHsVpPcBV
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) March 20, 2022
Rest in Peace, Hero
Hill showed the best of what this country offers: a helping hand and solidarity for people in the worst situations.
He was a brave man and went where most wouldn’t dare to try to save the life of his partner. May he rest in peace.