DILWORTH, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – For these Afghan families, Saturday afternoon is a holiday.
“I have just fled a warring country and it is really amazing to me that I am here,” said Abdul Hamid Barsa, a former Afghan interpreter.
He, his wife and children are welcomed to Charlotte with a party in Freedom Park from the same friend who helped them escape from Afghanistan, Sean Kilbane.
“Kabul collapsed under the Taliban and I have been there all day and night, I have been in my house and if I wanted out 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 flight to America.
“And after 10 days, on August 25, he called me and said ‘Go! Now go to the airport. “And I went to the airport right away, it happened in 10 minutes. I just got my wife and my two sons in just a little bag. When we got to the airport it was awful. Firefighting, shootings, “We went and pushed ourselves into the crowd and it was a really bad situation,” he said.
“They actually went through the Abbey gate, and a few hours after they went through that gate, the gate exploded,” Kilbane says. He served for two years in Afghanistan.
Kilbane says that service members and interpreters have a very special relationship.
“The idea of leaving our team members and allies behind was not something I could stand for because I promised them when they came to work for me that we would not surrender them to the Taliban and to a life of death and desperation,” he said.
The Interpretation Freedom Foundation has been able to provide the refugees with cars and education for jobs, but their biggest challenge has been finding a place where they can live. Former Afghanistan trauma surgeon Grant Campbell says they still need help. He also sits on the board of Interpreter Freedom.
‘You know the housing market is a little bit crazy right now. So we take donations from landlords and say they can you donate your property for a few months so they can switch. People with AirBnBs have helped, we have also got some hotel management to help. “
If you want to help, 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.