SAN ANTONIO — U.S. Air Force veteran Pat Jopling is keeping busy these days, helping families from Afghanistan settle into their new homes in the Alamo City.
“The way I look at it is, we’re just helping our friends and neighbors,” Jopling said.
Jopling served overseas in the Middle East, where she worked in logistics tracking personnel and cargo.
She’s been entrenched in a new humanitarian mission alongside fellow volunteers at Soldiers’ Angels to welcome Afghan refugees.
Soldiers’ Angels is a nonprofit dedicated to assisting military personnel, veterans and their families.
“They are fleeing a country that they don’t have anymore. They’ve lost their country,” Jopling said.
Tens of thousands of refugees are seeking new beginnings after fleeing a country taken over by the Taliban, which was prompted by the U.S.’s withdrawal after 20 years.
Many of the refugees served as translators with the U.S. military, potentially putting them at even bigger risk of being killed had they stayed in Afghanistan.
Community donations have been piling into the Soldiers’ Angels warehouse.
“Cleaning supplies, things like towels, bedsheets, hygiene items, clothing for the children. We have people that are donating furniture so we’re basically supplementing that,” Jopling said.
It’s about sparking hope in those who came to America
“Now they can raise their family, their children in a safe place. A lot of them are in tears, they just can’t believe the all the support they’re getting from people they don’t even know,” Jopling said.
Soldiers’ Angels President and CEO Amy Palmer is also looking to the future.
“This isn’t a short-term endeavor, this is going to last awhile,” Palmer said.
“We are actually looking at an internship program to help them resettle and to get skills and such and hopefully other employers will also participate in that around the country because I think it’s important to look beyond just the initial needs of getting them settled in homes.”
To learn how to help out Afghan refugees through Soldiers' Angels, click here.