Rexburg mother, whose son died while he fought in Ukraine, wants to travel to country and pay it forward

Rexburg mother, whose son died while he fought in Ukraine, wants to travel to country and pay it forward

REXBURG — A Rexburg mother who lost her son in 2022 after he fought in Ukraine wants to give back to the people who cared for him by traveling to the country.

“I want to tell them how much my heart will always be with Ukraine. They are such good people, and (I want to) tell them thank you for loving my son,” said Terri Hepworth.

Dane Partridge

Hepworth’s son, Dane Partridge, 34, of Rexburg, died on Oct. 11, 2022, after being critically injured fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.

When Partridge went to Ukraine in April 2022, he joined the international legion of foreign fighters, a group of volunteers from countries around the world fighting alongside Ukrainians.

Dane Partridge in Ukraine. | Courtesy Terri Hepworth

Partridge was involved with an organization called LEGS, Logistical Emergencies Getting Solved, helping to organize rescues of injured civilians in Ukraine.

You can read more about his story by clicking here. Partridge along with other men were clearing trenches when they were ambushed by two Russian vehicles. The men were caught in a firefight.

He was wounded and passed away in a hospital while on life support.

“He fought to save people’s lives,” Hepworth said of her son. “He died trying to do what he thought was right, and he fought valiantly.”

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The humanitarian trip

Hepworth has teamed up with To Ukraine with Love, a charity that delivers housing, food and other essentials to those affected by the war.

She would like to go on a week-long humanitarian trip to Ukraine with the organization in April. However, she lacks the funds she needs. is not disclosing the dates of the trip or where in Ukraine the trip will occur due to safety concerns.

Svitlana Miller is the founder of To Ukraine with Love. She started the charity in Idaho Falls and is from Ukraine. She currently lives in Utah. Miller heard about Hepworth’s son when he first got to Ukraine but had never met him.

“I was actually in Ukraine when the war broke out. I met with and spoke with people who knew Dane Partridge in Ukraine who found him inspiring and just an amazing person,” Miller said. “He met people at the local church, and he supported them. They were just so inspired to know that someone all the way from the United States came to help their people fight.”

Miller said it would be great to have Hepworth come with them to Ukraine to help serve food at meal centers and help people who don’t have homes.

“It would be an honor to have Terri join our team on our next humanitarian trip to be able to talk to some of the soldiers that Dane served with and meet with some government officials in honor of Dane and his sacrifice,” Miller told

Raising funds

Miller explained that the cost of the entire trip for Hepworth is $5,000, which includes things like airline tickets, travel expenses and housing. That’s why To Ukraine with Love has created a page on its website where people can help donate to the trip expenses to make it a reality for Hepworth.

Hepworth is thankful to those who have given.

“There have been so many that have helped me, and I am so grateful to them,” Hepworth said.

She is no stranger to grief and losing a home.

“I was 14 when our house burned down in California. My sister was killed. Then we moved here (to Idaho) just before the (Teton Dam) floods, and our house was washed away. I was 20 then,” Hepworth said.

She added that she doesn’t know what it’s like to be in war, but she knows what hurt feels like.

“If I can go just for a few days and make things better, to give somebody something and let them know I understand and to let them know that despite all they are going through, the Lord loves them and is aware,” she said.

Hepworth said it’s an opportunity for her to pay it forward to those who have helped her in the past, including her son, and walk the ground Partridge did.

“I feel like this will be my closure and kind of a peaceful ending to, you know, what Dane had started,” Hepworth said.

Click here to donate.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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