Louisville man helping refugees fleeing Syria - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville man helping refugees fleeing Syria

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Greg Blakemore explains plans for a showering facility Greg Blakemore explains plans for a showering facility
Josh and Rachelle Neal skyping from Macedonia Josh and Rachelle Neal skyping from Macedonia
Some of the children fleeing Syria that the Neal family encountered Some of the children fleeing Syria that the Neal family encountered
Josh Neal delivering food to refugees near Macedonia Josh Neal delivering food to refugees near Macedonia
Resources The Nehemiah Group helped provide Resources The Nehemiah Group helped provide

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Tired, hungry, barefoot, even pregnant -- refugees escaping violence in Syria need help and a Louisville man is using his business skills to do what he can.

"They need help," said Greg Blakemore, of Syrian refugees. "They didn't want to leave their country. They're women and children wandering away from their house with whatever they could take."

Blakemore, founder of The Nehemiah Group likes to help people and get things built. His skills often take him on mission projects around the globe. Once a week, he checks in with his employee Josh Neal, who is working in Macedonia with his wife Rachelle.

While there, the Syrian refugee crisis has swelled. About 5,000 Syrians a day come through the area to escape to Europe. "Masses of people, I think it's hard to really grasp that it's a continual stream. They often come to us and say, 'Where am I now? Where am I going, what's the next stop?'" Rachelle Neal explained.

In this area, the Neals explain that the refugees have traveled for about 8 days and 700 miles, by walking, taking boats, and trains. They are tired, hungry and dirty.

"I mean they're pouring cold water over their kids, that's all they have to clean them with. They're arriving with dirty diapers, dirty clothes," said Blakemore. "Everyone thinks there's all this aid happening, truth of it is, there isn't."

The Nehemiah Group came up with a $75,000 idea -- a building that houses showers, a nursing station, and warmth.

"It's very simple construction. A slab with some plumbing in it, throw a roof on it," said Blakemore.

However, The Nehemiah Group has only raised several hundred dollars.

"That didn't stop us. We still raised money and are still raising money and Josh and his wife are down there handing out bananas, apples, coats, whatever they can," said Blakemore.

"What shocks me the most is their gratitude," said Rachelle Neal. "You hand them an apple or tea, they say, 'God bless you, thank you very much," said Josh Neal.

"The Statue of Liberty says 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. That's what America's about. That's what Louisville's about," said Blakemore.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, click here.

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