Couples who helped the refugee family get out of Afghanistan meet them at DFW Aiport

It was an emotional meeting at DFW Airport on Wednesday afternoon when a family of Afghan refugees arrived to settle here in North Texas.

When they arrived, they met some of the people who helped them.

It has been a long, complicated and dangerous process for many Afghans leaving their homeland.

Even those who served right next to American soldiers.

Fortunately, some have had their own warriors fighting with them every step of the way.

For Valentina and Andrew Simich, two military veterans from Celina, the wait at DFW Airport on Wednesday was short compared to the wait they have been waiting for the last few months.

“It’s been an American project as opposed to something you thought was possible in today’s climate,” Andrew said.

Work began in August, when the couple saw the situation in Afghanistan begin to worsen.

The Taliban were fast taking over cities, and many Afghans who had worked as interpreters helping American troops now had targets on their backs.

The couple initially started helping families trying to come up with things like paperwork.

“You’re going from being a spectator to, now you’re complicit in it all. You’re involved because you’re talking to the people who say, ‘Please help. I have a newborn,'” Andrew said. “‘I’m getting letters from the Taliban, they’re looking for me. Can you do something, can you help us?”

By relying on friends, other veterans and military contacts, the couple coordinated an escape.

Eventually, 56 people got out, including the family of American interpreter Sayed Sidiqi.

“He asked me before I was even able to help him, he asked me, ‘May I ask you a personal question?’ and I said sure. He said, “What state do you live in?” And I said Texas. And he said, “Great, I’m planning to go to Fort Worth, Texas.” And I said great, I want to be there at the airport and welcome you, and he said, ‘I hope so if I come out of here,’ Valentina remembered.

The wait was worth it.

After stops in several countries and the last few weeks in a camp in El Paso, Sidiqi arrived with his wife, three children and nephew to settle in Fort Worth.

He was grateful that it was near a family in North Texas that extended his lifeline.

“They did a lot for me, especially Valentina,” Sadiqi said. “I thought God sent an angel to save me and my family. So it was something like that, she was an angel to us and she saved our lives.”

“People like Sayed, who worked with American forces for almost a decade, he gave us support there when we needed it most, and now we can hopefully pay for that service,” Valentina said.

“He was willing to risk his life for American interests, and he gave himself to something in the belief that he was doing the right thing and that we wanted his back,” Andrew said. “If the government or the State Department does not want to live up to it, US citizens can at least do it.”

The Simiches said they are still working with refugee families.

They want people to be accommodating and lend a helping hand to these families who are now seeking to return to the United States.

RELATED: Groups helping Afghan refugees arriving in northern Texas are settling

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