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Maine veteran responds to situation in Afghanistan and how he's trying to help

Richard Poulin is working with elected leaders across party lines to get his interpreter here to the U.S.

MAINE, USA — Maine could play a major role in resettling some Afghan refugees as groups in our state are already preparing for an influx.

For one local Afghanistan veteran, this is personal. He's fighting to bring someone who had his back during the war to safety in the U.S.

Army Specialist Richard Poulin said it's been hard, 

"It brings back a lot that people try to forget," he said.

Poulin served in Afghanistan 2012-2013. During that time, he worked with an interpreter. For safety reasons, Poulin would not provide his name, except that he goes by Rocky. The two still talk every day.

"[Rocky's] begging for help and saying 'you know the Taliban is here in Kabul I don't know if I'll be alive tomorrow. Please do anything you can,'" Poulin said.

Poulin said he has been working with the Maine delegation to get Rocky, his wife, and their five daughters safely to the U.S.

"I'll fight tooth and nail to get him over here because he would do the same for me," Poulin said.

Poulin isn't the only Mainer fighting to get Afghan refugees safely to America.

Mufalo Chitam is the executive director for the Maine Immigrants' Human Rights Collation. The group held a virtual meeting earlier this week to help answer questions of immigrants in Maine who may have family in Afghanistan. 

This isn't the first time Maine has had to prepare for immigrants.

RELATED: Asylum seekers in need of shelter to avoid Maine winter

That's because Maine is a refugee resettlement state, which means services are available for refugees seeking asylum.

RELATED: Maine welcomes nearly 30 more asylum seekers to Portland

And for the troops in Afghanistan, Poulin offers this advice: "help these guys get out, and then get yourselves home too."

Poulin said hoping for a safe return for U.S. troops, and his Afghan friends.

A group of Mainers also started a GoFundMe page to help refugees in need.

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