People in the Valley preparing to help Afghan refugees
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - As thousands of people attempt to flee Afghanistan with the Taliban in control, some people here in the Valley are looking to help.
Harrisonburg has a large refugee population, and while we don’t yet know how many Afghan refugees will end up in the Valley, one man in the area is preparing to do what he can to help them.
“They’re probably the reason many Americans are alive today,” said Kyle Ford, an army veteran from Woodstock. “We’re talking about civic leaders, we’re talking about political descendants, we’re talking about human rights leaders, they’re going to be slaughtered.”
Ford says there many Afghanis who played a vital role in aiding U.S. troops during the war, including some who fought beside them.
He says after seeing the crisis in Afghanistan he wanted to help, which is why he’s trying to reach out to people to help him provide temporary homes for Afghan refugees if they arrive in the Valley.
“I know a lot of people that house baseball players every summer for the Valley Baseball League, and I figured you know, why not try to find those people and house some of these refugees,” said Ford.
In Harrisonburg, Church World Services resettles refugees in the Friendly City, and while they do not expect a huge increase from Afghanistan, they are prepared to help those that come.
“At CWS Harrisonburg through a cooperative agreement with the state department we’ve been resettling refugees through this program since the 80s so we are well equipped to provide various services,” said Emily Bender, Communications Coordinator for CWS Harrisonburg.
CWS helps find housing and employment so they can become self sufficient, they’ve resettled 36 refugees in the last three months, and over the past ten years have relocated 15 Afghani families who aided the U.S. in the war.
Kyle Ford says he’s already gotten a lot of feedback from people willing to help out from reaching out on social media.
“This is the good will of Americans, this is what this country was made for,” he said. “It’s the greatest place in the world and I think we should really focus on bringing these people over here because they deserve freedom. "
Ford says he thinks even more people will help out once refugees begin to arrive and people see them face to face. He has also been in touch with Congressman Ben Cline’s office, which is working to help bring Afghani interpreters for the U.S. Army home safely.
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