EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – An Afghan family is safe and they say it’s thanks to the hard work of an Oklahoma veteran who felt he owed it to them.
David Owens and his wife say they are taking part in what’s being called a “Digital Dunkirk” – with veterans coming together to save the Afghans who helped them during their time overseas.
“For me, if it was my family, I’d want someone to come help them,” said David Owens.
Owens served in Afghanistan.
He knows the dangers there – dangers faced head-on by interpreter he first met in 2007.
Owens says the interpreter, who we are not naming to protect the family, helped U.S. troops like him adjust to life in Afghanistan.
“How to behave appropriately around people in situations where we don’t really understand their culture,” Owens recalled.
Owens came home to Edmond in 2017 to grow his own family, but says he stayed in touch with his Afghan friend.
In the last few weeks, he says things got bad.
“They were underground as the Taliban was going door to door,” said Owens.
David and his wife Meagan, thinking of the man and his young children, say they knew they had to do something.
“It’s just hard to hear their voices and hear gunfire in the background when I put my babies to bed and they’re safe,” Meagan said.
They say they reached out to their representatives, but claim the best help came from a network of fellow Marine vets.
“All of it was done with no government help, no government resources, anything – just citizens pooling money, contacting aircraft,” David said. “Getting people at gates to organize these things to get these people in that are being hunted.”
The Owens say a last-second call came in, and they were able to get the family on a flight out of Afghanistan.
The Owens are relieved but still concerned for the others who helped troops like David and remain seeking refuge.
“We want to set that Oklahoma Standard as well that they’re good people,” said Meagan.
“They deserve better than what they’re getting,” David said.
Owens says in total, his network of vets helped more than 50 Afghans flee the country.
The next step is getting them everything they need to start their lives over.
They’re waiting for their GoFundMe approved, as all accounts for Afghanistan are being vetted before posted at this time.