DILWORTH, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – For these Afghan families, Saturday afternoon is a day of celebration.
“I just escaped from a warrior country and it’s really great to me that I’m here,” said Abdul Hamid Barsa, former Afghan Interpreter.
He, his wife, and kids are being welcomed to Charlotte with a party in Freedom Park from the same friend who helped them narrowly escape Afghanistan, Sean Kilbane.
“Kabul collapsed under the Taliban and I’ve been there all the time days and nights, I have been in my house and if I wanted to go outside, the Taliban would take me, and brutally they would kill us,” Barsa said.
But thanks to Kilbane, he and his family were able to get on the last plane to America.
“And after 10 days, on August 25th, he called me and said “Go! Go now to the airport.” And I went to the airport immediately, it happened in 10 minutes. I just got my wife and my two sons in just a small bag. When we got to the airport it was horrible. Firefighting, shootings, so much crowded. We went and were pushing themselves in the crowd and it was a really bad situation,” he said.
“They actually went through the Abbey gate and hours after they went through that gate is when that gate exploded,” says Kilbane. He served for two years in Afghanistan.
Kilbane says service members and interpreters have a very special relationship.
“The idea of leaving our team members and allies behind wasn’t something I could stand for because I made a promise to them when they came to work for me that we wouldn’t surrender them to the Taliban and to a life of death and desperation,” he said.
The Interpreting Freedom Foundation has been able to get the refugees cars and training for jobs but their biggest challenge has been finding a place for them to stay. Former Afghanistan trauma surgeon Grant Campbell says they still need help. He also serves on the board of directors for Interpreting Freedom.
“You know the housing market is a little bit crazy right now. So we’re taking donations from landlords and saying they can you donate your property for a few months for them to transition. People with AirBnBs have been helping out, we’ve got some hotel management helping out as well.”
If you would like to help, you can go to InterpretingFreedomfoundation.org, you can make a contribution. They also accept cryptocurrencies. You can donate, cars, food, and even cars. Kilbane says they also have an Amazon wish list – Amazon Smile – to help the refugees in any way possible.