SAYRE, Pa. (WETM) – A Guthrie plastic facial surgeon and a team of doctors recently spent nine days in Ukraine doing nearly 40 facial reconstructions and seeing the never-ending hope of the Ukrainian people.

Dr. John Frodel specializes in Facial Plastic Surgery at Guthrie. During his nine days in Ukraine, he and his team worked with local doctors, spending 14-hour shifts doing facial reconstruction surgeries on those who have been injured in the war.

“All I could do was think about how Ukraine was gonna need a lot of help,” Frodel said, describing the work as “very intense… exhausting.”

Setting up the patient list before they even left for Ukraine, Frodel explained that it had to be cut short because of the sheer number of people looking for surgery.

In light of the ongoing destruction in the war, Frodel couldn’t help but tear up at the resilience and positivity of the Ukrainians he met.

“The Ukrainians are amazing. They’re tough; they’ve got a great sense of humor. They don’t like the other people very well,” Frodel said. “Which is kind of sad because I think most Russians are very good people. But for good reason it’s very difficult when you’re being bombarded.”

He went on to describe the Ukrainian doctors he met as “superstars”, even though many aren’t accustomed worked at the pace he and his American colleagues do every day.

“It was really easy to fall in love with these people,” Frodel said. “When you do something like this, it is kind of otherworldly in a way. And it’s very moving.”

Still, Frodel said he knows there’s much to be done, as this conflict will likely last years. He and his colleagues at the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery plan to return to Ukraine early next year.

Eventually, the hope is for multiple teams to visit multiple times each year. In the meantime, Frodel said anything Americans can do to help is greatly appreciated by the Ukrainian people because they need smiles and prayers.

Reflecting on the bonding experience with his fellow doctors and the dozens of Ukrainians he met, Frodel said, “There’s some fun parts to this too. I’m looking forward to going back.”