Q. How did you discover the IRC?
A: My sister first told me about the IRC and would send me information. Over time my husband and I began making small donations.
Q. Has your connection to the IRC changed over the years?
A: Two years ago, my husband and I had a life-altering experience with refugees while traveling around the Greek islands. We took a short ferry ride from Lesvos to Athens where we were the only Americans, so we started to talk to our fellow passengers. We met a couple of men from Pakistan whose eyes got huge when they heard we were from the United States and kept saying, "America, America." We also spoke to an Iraqi man who had worked with American Special Forces in Baghdad and had to flee.
Witnessing people living this nightmare changed our lives. It clicked how privileged and lucky I am to live in America. These refugees are just like you and me—they are just trying to survive and rebuild their lives.
Q. Why did you decide to make a gift to the IRC in your will?
A: I vowed that when we got home from Greece, we'd do something. I started doing more research on the IRC and visited my local resettlement office, where I got to see the many ways the IRC assists new U.S. refugee arrivals. Financially, my husband and I have lived a frugal life and have saved over the years. We live in California and own our home there. We realized that we had some things we could do financially both in terms of contributing now from income and in the future with our real estate assets.
Each of us has an obligation to make the world a better place. What gives me the most meaning is reaching out and making a connection to someone. There is just no greater feeling.