It was on Sept. 11, 2001 that over 750 stranded airline passengers found a safe haven in a place that many of the international travellers had never heard of.
Not only did they find safety in a world that suddenly seemed hostile due to acts of terrorism, they also found smiling faces and a special kind of caring and compassion that was just what they needed as many of the passengers were separated by distance from family and friends.
Doors that were normally left unlocked remained unlocked, and the new found friends were welcomed to come and go from the homes of strangers. But they didn’t stay strangers for long. Many of the friendships that were forged from 9/11 remain today.
It was from this history of Lewisporte as a mecca for caring that Reverend Stephanie McClellan felt the community would be ideally suited to host a family of Syrian refugees.
Her efforts, along with those of the Lewisporte Refugee Outreach advisory committee, mean that Fatima, Mohamid, Moussa and Rayane will be welcomed into the community in the not too distant future.
The Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Lewisporte has joined those efforts and together with the committee will now see a second Syrian family find solace here.
As is reported in the front-page article of the Pilot this week, the church collected a special offering from the congregation where almost $20,000 was donated.
While the committee is working to ensure all the immediate needs of the families will be met once they arrive in Lewisporte, you can be sure that this is just the beginning of what they — and the community as a whole — will offer to them.
The response from the community to 9/11 wasn’t just a one-time occurrence.
These actions came from the heart, and the heart of the community is its people who are once again responding to a call for help.