BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — It’s been six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and the people of Ukraine are still fighting. While this war may feel like a world away for some, it’s had a direct impact on people right here in Northwest Arkansas.

August 24 marked exactly six months since the invasion. That’s also the same day as Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Wilson Bernales lives in Bentonville, and said he is a family practitioner who works for Locum Tenens as a traveling doctor. He said he is also an Army veteran. He said he knew the moment that Russia invaded, he had to help.

“It was depressing, but it was also like encouraging, it was so full of hope,” he remembered of his time spent in the country.

He said after getting permission from his employer, he left Northwest Arkansas for Ukraine about a week after Russia invaded.

“I went to Ukraine by myself, crossed the border, and then from there, I was planning to join the Foreign Legion being in the Army before but they said, I think we can use you better as a doctor,” he said.

He ended up in Zaporizhzhia, which is northwest of Mariupol. Zaporizhzhia is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The Russian-controlled plant became disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid last week, almost causing a radiation disaster. It got back on the grid by Friday.

Bernales worked as a doctor in Zaporizhzhia, but also as a volunteer doing everything from household chores around the bunker he worked in, to helping refugees get the necessities they needed.

“It was so horrible because especially with the women, children, and old people who can barely walk, they’re just getting bombed,” he said.

Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack said he believes in Ukraine’s fight.

“Frankly, I think Putin miscalculated,” he said. “He miscalculated the resistance he’d get from the Ukrainians, miscalculated how the rest of the NATO countries would band together.”

President Joe Biden and the Department of Defense announced last week, on Ukraine’s Independence Day, nearly $3 billion in additional security aid. This would be the biggest security assistance package since the invasion.

“I support because I think there is a statement to be made when NATO and when countries like the United States of America are helping sovereign nations defend themselves against an aggressor like Russia,” he said.

Bernales spent four months volunteering in Ukraine He left with a certificate of appreciation from the team he worked with in Ukraine and they even gave him an honorary Ukrainian name. He returned back to Northwest Arkansas on America’s Independence Day.

“I didn’t want to miss the barbeque,” he joked.

He doesn’t want the war in Ukraine to fade from mind.

“My message to the people in Northwest Arkansas and America is not to forget that we have a war going on in Eastern Europe,” he said.

He wanted to give special thanks to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for his training as a doctor.