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McDonnell applauds efforts to aid Syrian refugees

Gov. Bob McDonnell applauded the efforts of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and its members, Paxton Van Lines, and Maersk to provide over 18,000 blankets to Syrian refugees in Turkey.  This initiative began following a recent NVRC cultural exchange trip to the region where local and state government officials from the Commonwealth toured a refugee camp near Adana, Turkey.

bob-mcdonnellSpeaking about this initiative, McDonnell said “The holiday season reminds all of us that it is incumbent that we help those in need in whatever ways we can.  Whether at home in the Commonwealth or some far away nation, the donation of a blanket, a meal, or a new toy can go a long way towards making the holidays a happier time for those in need.  The donation of these blankets could not have come at a better time, as Turkey is seeing one of its worst winters on record.  I applaud the efforts of all those involved in this initiative and encourage all Virginians to donate whatever amount of their time and resources they can over the holiday season to help make the holidays better for someone else.”

The blankets were collected over the past several weeks at faith-based locations and governmental offices throughout Northern Virginia.  The effort was spearheaded by Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York, NVRC Executive Director Mark Gibb, Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, and the American Turkish Friendship Association.

After collecting the blankets, Paxton Van Lines of Springfield transported the blankets to the Port of Virginia, where Maersk Line is providing several containers to ship the blankets to Turkey free of charge.  Maersk, whose U.S. headquarters is in Norfolk, will soon load the blankets on one of its vessels out of the Port of Virginia and ship the blankets to Algeciras, Turkey, before transshipping them to Mersin where a local aid group will distribute the blankets at the camp.  CMA CGM and other shipping companies have also offered their assistance with this initiative.

“As winter bears down on Turkey, these blankets will go a long way towards helping the Syrian refugees,” said Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro.  “The tremendous generosity of those involved in this initiative will have a lasting impact on those in need, and I’d encourage everyone to donate what they can throughout the holiday season.”

To learn more about this and other initiatives, please visit http://www.atfa.us/ or http://hizmetrelief.org/syrian-refugees/.

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