Father of fallen Marine welcomes Afghan refugees to St. Louis


ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Mark Schmitz lost his son after an attack at the Kabul airport while US troops were withdrawing from Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz was one of 13 Marines killed in August. Now Mark is meeting some of the refugees that moved to St. Louis.

“We had the honor of meeting 3 Afghan refugees who now live in St Louis. These fine gentlemen now have the opportunity to raise their families in a much more safe and secure country. Collectively there are 12 family members here in St Louis now,” Schmitz writes on Facebook.

Jared Schmitz was deployed to Afghanistan from Jordan about two weeks prior to his death. This was his first deployment serving his country with pride. He was just 20 years old.

“This is why we are able to wake up each day knowing our son was killed protecting our freedoms and assisting in granting freedom to these wonderful human beings along with 100,000 more. One of the three was rescued through the Abbey Gate where Jared was,” writes Schmitz.

The International Institute of St. Louis expects 50 to 100 refugees will land at Lambert each week through the end of the year. There is an existing Afghan community in St. Louis and the new refugees are being welcomed with open arms.

“I look forward to meeting the rest of their families and to hearing more about how much they love their new life. These are the reasons we STAND for our anthem and these are the reasons I will never stop trying to help our vets,” writes Schmitz.

The International Institute will be providing them with the tools they need in a new country including housing and job opportunities.

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