Members of the Fremont community wait at Eppley Airfield for an Afghan family to arrive. Photo by Collin Spilinek, Fremont Tribune

There’s a very special story in last weekend’s Fremont Tribune, but before you read it, let us explain.

We love sharing this story for so many reasons! One reason is that it shines a light on the generosity and big-hearted community that is Fremont, Nebraska – the place where Lutheran Family Services began almost 130 years ago! Only a few weeks ago, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Fremont Family Friends annual gala, an event to benefit LFS and the Rupert Dunklau Center for Healthy Families in Fremont.

Another reason we love this article is that it is a living legacy story. It links our humble beginnings as an orphanage in 1897 to the wide-ranging, multi-service health and human services agency that is LFS today. From finding forever families, foster and kinship care for children to offering behavioral and mental health therapies and treatments for adults experiencing depression, substance abuse, trauma, and any life-changing setback; and to being Nebraska’s largest refugee and immigrant resettlement provider, today’s LFS has evolved to meet many needs of our diverse communities.

Collin Spilinek’s story in the Fremont Tribune ties it all together with a group of dedicated volunteers led by Vicki Wehrmann-Sorensen. Vicki’s father was an orphan in the Lutheran orphanage until he was adopted in 1933. This is the foundational reason for her devotion and dedication to LFS and the roots of her volunteerism.

Vicki described the moment watching the news coverage coming out of Afghanistan in August that led to her springing into action to help LFS with our resettlement efforts, “Imagining a family handing their infant over a guarded wall to really not know if they’re ever going to see them again was just shocking,” she said. “And it was like, ‘There’s something we should be able to do here.'” Thus began Vicki’s mission to gather friends to sponsor an arriving refugee family.

Vicki’s story is one of many. We are moved by the numbers and variety of volunteers who have reached out, donated household goods, applied to help set up homes, offered financial support, jobs, and expertise to help new arrivals rebuild their lives as strangers in a strange land.

Members of the Fremont community and LFS case managers helped at last week’s arrival of a refugee family from Afghanistan. Photo by Collin Splilinek, Fremont Tribune

From being the daughter of an orphan adopted from LFS to bringing safety, hope and well-being to all people, Vicki and her friends are making a difference and we thank her for sharing her story!

You can assist LFS in resettling refugees from across the globe. Visit our Get Involved page and learn about the many ways you can make a difference!

Read Collin Spilinek’s story here.

Categories: Blog, Community Services, LFS in the News, New Populations, Refugees

Tags: , , , , ,