Join us at The Chilliwack Progress as we take our readers on a thoughtful trip down memory lane. Our Top Stories will recap the most significant news events, milestones and emerging themes that have shaped Chilliwack in 2016. It was undeniably a notable year, from an unprecedented spike in homelessness, to major development news, to the community revealing its keen interest in crime and politics, and a most caring heart.
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They became the first Syrian family in March to arrive in Chilliwack.
Yousef Hadla, 32, and wife, Amnieh Alkoholani, 24, and boys, Firas, and Mohammed-Yaman were sponsored by the Chilliwack Group of Five.
Hadla used words like: “peaceful” and “relaxed” to describe what it felt like to be here.
They finally breathed out a sigh of relief having escaped the dangers of the Syrian conflict.
They were warmly welcomed at city hall by mayor and council who handed out bus passes and Leisure Centre passes to the family who had fled their war-torn country.
The family was sponsored was under the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program which made it possible for them to relocate from Damascus.
Chilliwack resident Marty van den Bosch, created the ‘group of five’ which included his wife, Kristy van Den Bosch, mother-in-law Patsy Byers, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jason and Esther Byers of Agassiz.
“The community of Chilliwack has been tremendous in their support,” he said about the networking, and offers of goods and services, found online with the Chilliwack Refugees Support, and from Chilliwack Community Services.
Hadla said he hoped to one day make his mark coding in the tech sector, while wife, Amnieh, dreams of one day having a food truck.
“It’s a new life,” Hadla remarked. “Every day we meet new people.”