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Tampa Bay area organization hopes to help Afghanistan refugees

ABC Action News WFTS
ABC Action News WFTS
 2021-10-26
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A Tampa Bay area organization is taking action to help Afghans who are still in limbo in the war torn country.

In August, Jessica Gronert helped create the non-profit group, Save Settle Support Initiative, or S3I.

"It's not in the national news circuits anymore but this is a long game. We are not going to be done very quickly," Gronert said.

Gronert is an Air Force veteran and served in Afghanistan in 2014. In fact, she met her husband while serving in the country.

The goal of the group is to help Afghans resettle in the United States and get them out of the middle east safely.

"We have 6,013 application in our roster alone and amongst all of the other none governmental organizations, you know private, veteran run groups like ours we probably have twenty to 30,000 applications for people that just need to escape and they get out," Gronert said.

Another battle she and her group are facing is organization.

"We appreciate all of this outpouring of support but what I think would be really, really critical is exactly what the pentagon announced several weeks ago is a fusion cell so that all of these private organizations can collaborate together, share information and resources," Gronert said.

Gronert said the support from the community has been helpful. She credits some of that to the proximity, both logistically and emotionally to MacDill Air Force base.

For those who may not have a connection to Afghanistan or the refugees who need help Gronert said, "I would only say that if you don't have a personal connection with this try to be empathetic because these are people and as you read their stories and you get a sense of the sheer terror and panic that that these families feel."

For more information about S3I and how to help, visit www.savesettlesupport.org.

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