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Darfur refugee has been contributing since he arrived

On Sunday, March 29, Alaska Dispatch News reported the vandalism of two cars in Anchorage. One of the victims of this crime is Mr. Mohammed Hano Abdallai, who works at Providence Alaska Medical Center. This letter is to express our support for "Mr. Hano," his friends and every member of our diverse community, all of whom deserve to be treated with respect.

Mr. Hano and his friends are refugees from Darfur, Sudan, and he and one of his roommates, Mr. Assadik Juma, came to work with us initially through a Catholic Social Services program that supports refugees. The two men both worked hard and learned quickly. Once they completed the training program, Providence hired them. They continue to be great members of our caregiver team here at PAMC.

These men are people who have rebuilt their lives after suffering through terrible experiences in their home country. Anchorage has benefitted from people of many different countries and regions who choose to call Alaska home. For example, Providence Alaska Medical Center employs individuals from around the world, and every one of them brings something unique when providing care to our community.

The individuals who were victims of this crime have already made a difference in Anchorage, both in small and large ways. For example, Mr. Hano immediately looked to support his "new family" at work. He hosted a pizza party for his work team at the end of Ramadan one year, both to say thank you and to provide the opportunity for others to learn about his Islamic faith. When he became a full-time member of our team at Providence, he expressed a desire to give back to Providence. Specifically, Mr. Hano asked if he could donate a portion of his earnings each month to benefit children. He worked with the Providence Alaska Foundation to make this happen.

It's been wonderful to see the community reaction so far, such as the event Saturday to welcome all immigrants to Alaska. The welcoming messages to these victims of crime and the expressed disgust for the acts of vandalism are the kind of responses our community needs. It ensures people know they are valued members of our community and emphasizes that acts of vandalism are unacceptable. Anchorage is a great city filled with amazing people of all backgrounds. Let's continue to work together as a community and focus on ways to make Anchorage an even better place to live, work and play.

Dr. Richard Mandsager is Providence Alaska Medical Center's senior executive, overseeing all medical center services at the 401-bed hospital. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he served as the executive director of The Children's Hospital at Providence, the state's only dedicated children's hospital.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com

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