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Man who helped with war relief in Ukraine volunteers at Calgary Marathon

This is a big weekend for the 1,400 volunteers at the Calgary Marathon. 

And there’s one person donating his time to the race who’s recently been helping people make it through life in a war zone.

Herman Demydov came to Calgary last year from his home country of Ukraine, where he’d been volunteering to help get food and medical aid out to villages and hospitals.

It was a chance for Demydov to use the skills he’d gained working as a project manager.

“But once the war started, I told my boss: ‘Sorry, I can’t work. I feel I should do something to be helpful for people,’” Demydov said.

“I did the best I could to help my people.”

Click to play video: 'Anniversary of war in Ukraine approaching'

Anniversary of war in Ukraine approaching

Demydov is now busy in the marathon’s staging centre, located at Stampede Park.

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He’s in charge of a team of 60 volunteers tasked with setting up the integral bag check operation for the field of 13,000 runners. Run Calgary is organizing the event.

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The group’s executive director, Kirsten Fleming, said having Demydov’s experience is invaluable.

“His timing was impeccable, because we are redoing how we do our bag check and it takes a smart brain like Herman to help us figure out the logistics,” she said.

“Herman’s a phenomenal human, to have given his time over in Ukraine and then to show up in Canada and be like: ‘How can I get involved in my new community?’” Fleming said. “After going through something like (the war in Ukraine), that is just really admirable.”

Demydov is enjoying the opportunity to give back to the community.

“The thing that I love so much is volunteering,” Demydov said. “It’s really helpful to meet people and I’m so happy to be here as part of the organizers.”

The Calgary Marathon starts and finishes at Stampede Park on Sunday May 26 at 7:30 a.m.

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