The Noori family came to our country about a year ago. Through World Relief, Snohomish community Church has partnered with them with their Good Neighbor team to help them adjust to life as refugees in America. This is how I met and became friends with Zuhra. This sweet family has four little children 12 years old and younger. Yesterday celebrating Father’s Day, the father, Waheed, fell into the Snoqualmie river and drowned.
Needless to say, this is a Trumatic blow to their family. Zuhra also works full-time as a housekeeper and will not be able to make ends meet without the fathers income. Any money donated would be used to help Zuhra care for her children and pay her rent. This fund will allow her to have a monthly income that will replace Waheed and her job income so she can pay her bills and care for her children. The funds will go directly to Zuhra or to pay her rent. In the future it could also pay for education for Zuhra to be able to get a job that can sustain her.
Thank you for Your generosity, and please keep them in your prayers!
Here is the story from the woman who jumped into try to save Waheed:
Yesterday, a friend and I were having a picnic on the Snoqualmie River just downstream of Snoqualmie Falls. Sharing the beach with us was a group of 10 or so – a couple of families celebrating Father’s Day together. I was struck by the constant stream of laughter coming from them. So many smiles it was impossible not to smile with them.
About an hour after getting there I heard a splash just upstream of us and saw that one of the men from the group had fallen into the water (it was unclear to me if it was intentional or not). As he was swept past us in the main current, he fought to swim towards shore – there was an eddy just downstream that I thought he could make it in to. He managed to make it to the eddy fence (where the eddy and the current come together) – he wasn’t being pulled by the current but it still took a lot of energy to break into the eddy (it was deceptively very strong).
It was then that he started to bob up and down, submerged for a couple seconds at a time. I realized in that moment that he was not going to make it unless somebody did something. I dove in and swam to him – I made it about 5 feet from him when he bobbed under for the 3rd and final time. By the time I got to him he had not resurfaced. I treaded in the current for a minute or so, searching underwater for his body. But it was too late. We didn’t see him again.
I’ve spent years of my life on the river as a guide. I know how to read rivers and even I did not understand the strength of the water pushing us into the main current. By the time I had given up looking for his body I was totally exhausted, and still needed to fight to get to shore myself. If I’m being honest, I barely made it and certainly would not have made it carrying a 200 pound man with no flotation device.
On Father’s day, this man’s 4 children (ages 2-12) and wife watched their dad die in front of them. Slip under the surface of the river and out of their young lives forever. An unimaginable trauma. Authorities have been searching for his body since, but have not had any luck. They will give up after today, as is protocol. Likely, this family will never get the closure they deserve.
Before leaving I left my contact information with a friend of the wife. I told them that I can help – I told them this because of the tremendous faith I have in my community. You all. The community that taught me to fight for what and who you love, to do good in this world, the community that held me when I lost my own mother.
None of them spoke much English, so my contact information was passed along to the case worker who has been working with the man’s family. She contacted me today to better understand what happened and to follow up on what kind of help I may provide for them.
The man’s name is Waheed Noori - he is survived by his wife Zuhra, and his four beautiful children. They came to the US from Afghanistan last August. While making it here also meant making it out of a life of violent conflict and trauma, it did not mark the end their fight. Both Waheed and Zuhra work tirelessly to make ends meet – often times barely able to pay rent without assistance. Before Sunday, their life was harder than most of us can begin to fathom.
Today, it is impossible. There is no way that they will make it here without assistance. A now single mother of four, Zuhra cannot work as much as she needs to support her family, let alone pay the exorbitant costs associated with losing a loved one.
I know times are tougher for many of us than they may ever have been. In so many ways. And I know we have all been called to donate, donate, and donate again. And I am pleading with you to donate again still. They have no one here. They will not make it without the generosity of folks who will likely never even know them. No one deserves to experience the many traumas this family has had to endure. Please, please, do what you can for this family. If not for them than for me. I gave them my word that I would help, and I’m banking on my community to help provide it.
Funds will be handled by Ian Walberg, a close confidant and trusted family friend of Zuhra and the Noori family.
- Jeremy Elmore
- Aleene Milt