News from the Week of July 15th

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Michael Jurrens, a Rochester, Minnesota-based veteran who served in Afghanistan, is working to help refugees in northern France. At the International Association for Refugees, Michael supports asylum seekers by providing food, water, and basic medical care. The organization also assists refugees in recovery from displacement by fostering supportive communities. Michael wants to raise awareness in his local Rochester area as well. Speaking to the local Rotary Club recently he said, “A lot of the fear we have for any person who is a stranger is we don’t know them and have never said hello,” and encouraged speaking with a refugee over a cup of coffee.

Fifty refugees in two camps in Kenya and Malawi have earned their diplomas from Regis University. The Jesuit Worldwide Learning program was started in 2010 and provides university-level coursework for refugees in 11 countries and 18 community learning centers. Worldwide, the program enrolls more than 350 students a semester, half of which are women.

Vu Nguyen, a police officer in Cleveland, passed away last week. He was one of 15 siblings in a refugee family that fled Vietnam the day North Vietnamese troops rolled into the south. His father was a former police chief and his mother owned several Vietnamese restaurants. "He taught us all how important it is to be a giver," his sister said. "He taught us all how to be a giver with a willing and happy heart, without expecting anything in return."

Adun Sam-On, one of the rescued boys in Thailand’s Tham Luang cave, is a refugee from Myanmar. During the daring rescue mission in the cave he used his language skills in Thai and English to translate between the rescue team, who mostly spoke English, and his team. After being stuck in the cave for weeks, his skills were crucial to getting his team out safely.

Last week Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Craig Humes was honored with the Navy Times Sailor of the Year award. During his 18 years of service he deployed around the world, but now he teaches Phys Ed to new sailors and soldiers at the Navy Medicine Training and Support Center in San Antonio. In his off time he continues his service by helping foreign-born refugees get a start in the United States.

And on a final note for this week’s news roundup, 63 Republican and Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the administration urging an increased pace of refugee arrivals and expressing strong support for the U.S. resettlement program.