Victor: 22 years later

Written by: Anonymous

The following is a story of a family’s economical survival in the US, their integration into an American society and becoming self-sufficient. This is also a story of great courage at the time when the family was facing a great uncertainty.

Victor, his wife, and their 4 young children arrived to Seattle as refugees. This was a while ago when World Relief used to work with sponsors—people willing to host the refugee families and assist with their initial resettlement needs. Directly from the airport, Victor’s family was taken into the home of one such sponsor, who happened to be a prominent businessman in his community. This man held strong beliefs that every man should be able to support his family with the work of his own two hands.

Neither Victor nor his wife spoke a word of English. With the help of the interpreter, their sponsor found out that Victor had a long history of working as a car mechanic. The very next day, this sponsor got in touch with his friend—an owner of an auto body shop—and asked him for a favor: to meet with a newly-arrived Ukrainian refugee and test his mechanical skill. Oh, did Victor know how to repair cars! Even the foreign, expensive cars! When he was shown to a Mercedes that was making noises, he was quickly able to point out the faulty part and replace it on the spot.

Observing his expertise and skills, the shop owner offered Victor a job with a decent salary. Initially, Victor was not happy about such rapid developments in his life in the US. He wanted to take ESL classes first and get affordable housing. But, upon his sponsor’s insistence that this employment opportunity is a chance he couldn’t afford to miss, Victor agreed to take the job. Incredibly, he started working just 4 days after his arrival in the US.

Six months later, Victor became one of the most valuable workers in auto body shop. He was learning English on the job and had received a pay raise. He was well ahead of many of his friends who were still taking ESL classes. Four years later, his family was able to make a down payment on their own house.  Now, 22 years later, he still works in the same shop while earning the highest pay possible in the auto repair industry.

Victor never gets tired of telling the story of his success in America and how immensely grateful he became toward his sponsor, when he finally realized what a huge difference that man has made in his life. What a blessing it is to have passionate volunteers at World Relief, dedicated to refugees’ success and their economic self-sufficiency.

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