The CCI has a new set of wheels to help transport Syrian refugees around Ottawa. Dow Honda owner Jeff Mierins presented the keys to the donated Honda Odyssey van to CCI Executive Director Carl Nicholson at a Family Day breakfast.  The van was put to use immediately following the event to move a newly-arrived family to their first temporary residence.

Dow Honda hosted the event to thank volunteers who have been working to settle refugees in Ottawa. About 200 people braved the record-breaking cold to enjoy a pancake breakfast and entertainment. Along with volunteers, other attendees included refugee families, representatives from settlement and aid agencies, Mayor Jim Watson, MP Catherine McKenna, Minister of The Environment and Climate Change, and Ottawa West-Nepean representative Anita Vandenbeld.  Also on hand were Knoxdale–Merivale Councillor Keith Egli and City of Ottawa Special Liaison for refugee resettlements Councillor Michael Quaqish.

Jeff Mierins, who presented the van, originally comes from a refugee family himself. Canada offered Mr. Mierins’ grandparents’ family permanent immigrant status when they fled Latvia in 1944 under threat of persecution and death.  “For me it’s not about giving back, but rather building something,” says Mr. Mierins. “It’s about building up these new members of our community so they are able to contribute and build businesses themselves as well.”