The warmth of the community radiated as intensely as the sun on Sunday afternoon at Marine Peace Park.
The four Syrian refugee families were officially welcomed to the community during a picnic in the park.
Speaking on behalf of the four families was, the first to arrive in Salmon Arm Mustafa Zakreet.
“We want to thank everyone who has helped us and continues to help us. We are so proud to make this our home,” said an emotional Zakreet, as he held back tears.
Making up the families are: Mustafa and Ahmed Zakreet, Fatima Al Dayal and baby Liyan; Hussam Alhasan and Lina Alahmad children Barakat, Moammar, Rimas, and Lynda; Lokman Mustafa and Gulistan Abdo their children Yusef, Lavin, Elin and Hasan Alsalloum and Amal Aldakhil and their kids Mohamed, Hamza and Omar.
Lokman Mustafa masterfully demonstrated his musical abilities as he played the bazuk, a traditional Syrian instrument, which he kept in safe keeping since his family was forced to leave Syria.
Also welcoming the families was Judy Wilson Neskonlith Band Chief, and Wayne Christian Splatsin Band Chief, Mayor Nacy Cooper and MP Mel Arnold. One of the sponsors for the families George Zorn said it has been a rewarding experience to be able to help out the families in need.
“It was just the right thing to do, and I am looking forward to the other families that the community is expecting,” Zorn said.
By the end of the year, five to six more Syrian families could call Salmon Arm their new home. “There are sponsors who have the names of their families, but they are still waiting to receive them.”