Rutland Mayor Meets With Newly-Arrived Refugee Families

Jan 20, 2017

More details about the Syrian families who arrived in Rutland this week, one day apart, are beginning to emerge. Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras says he met both families.

Louras says the wife in the family who arrived Wednesday has a degree in French literature, has written children’s books and was communicating in French with local volunteers.

Louras says the woman's husband made it clear he wanted to begin practicing his English.

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“The first words spoken by the dad were, ‘Two days no sleep,’ with this exhausted look on his face and his exhausted wife and children. He wanted us to know that was the place he was in," Louras says.

Despite the man’s exhaustion, Louras says he didn’t want to work through an interpreter.

“My impression of him was he wanted to work on his English language skills from the day he stepped foot into the city of Rutland,” he says.

The first family to arrive was on hand to meet the second family when they arrived in Rutland on Thursday night, equally exhausted.

Louras was there as well, and says the second father speaks Arabic and Turkish and was also eager to improve his English.

Both families have children and are living temporarily with host families in Rutland.

The family that arrived first on Wednesday was shown around the city on Thursday, and Louras says when he asked the father what he thought, he says the man’s eyes rolled back and he put his hand to his chest and said, “Ahhhh ... beautiful. Rutland is beautiful.”

The mayor says he’s invited the Syrian families to join him for coffee or tea when they’re ready — something he says he’s looking forward to.