To the editor:

I read with interest your editorial on Thursday, Dec. 30, “A welcoming region for Afghan evacuees.”

The piece focused mainly on the laudable efforts to welcome and help re-settle our Afghan allies in the Merrimack Valley and Middlesex County. I want share with you the good news of what is happening right here on Cape Ann, toward the effort to welcome Afghan allies to a home here with us.

In late September, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken asked me to meet with herself, former Mayor Bruce Tobey, Dr. Dana Tobey and Neesha Suarez, director of constituent services for Congressman Seth Moulton’s office. Thus began a series of planning meetings including Rev. Alice Erickson, who is an expert in refugee resettlement; several key public servants and members of the Associated Clergy of Cape Ann, with the full support of Gloucester’s vital human service agencies. We forged a partnership with Catholic Charities Department of Refugee Resettlement and the dream began to take root.

It was this group of Allies of Our Afghan allies that met in Rockport in November, at the Rockport Congregational Church. Nearly 100 volunteers signed up to help with the resettlement effort. We launched a Go Fund Me Campaign to prepare to welcome our new neighbors.

Under the direction of Rev. Elsa Marshall, these local volunteer Allies of Our Afghan Allies will serve on teams such as housing, transportation, information technology, cultural acclimatization, employment, and English as a second language.

After many weeks of searching diligently for housing, the good news came two days before Christmas; we have found an apartment! It is being furnished by volunteers with donations and made into a comfortable, welcoming home for the first of our new Afghan neighbors, even as I write this.

This extraordinary effort is made possible through the dream-work of Mayor Romeo Theken and former Mayor Tobey; the hard work of many volunteers and the generous contributions of the good people of Cape Ann. May God bless you.

Rev. Rona Tyndall

West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church

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