NEW DURHAM, NH – A couple from New Durham, stranded overseas during the global coronavirus pandemic, was helped by Greek-American Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) and shared their story in a letter published July 1 on Seacoastonline.com. The text of the letter from Elaine Laurie of New Durham, dated June 29, follows:
“The following is a recount of our efforts to return to the USA at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and who helped most in that endeavor.
“My husband and I had planned an eagerly awaited adventure. We left our home in New Durham, NH in February. We’d heard news of a virus that was causing problems in China but had no idea how much that virus would eventually impact us. Or, how much help we would eventually need. We received an email on March 12 that the rest of our expedition had been canceled. We were in the middle of the very south of the Atlantic Ocean near a tiny island called Tristan da Cunha at that time. We didn’t make it home until March 24th. Twelve days. Twelve days of a nightmare of stress, uncertainty, and fear. We needed help.
“Chris Pappas and his team met that need. They were communicative, empathetic, helpful, and a link with the U.S. Embassy. It is thanks to Chris Pappas that we eventually were issued seats (dreaded middle seats a few rows apart) on a 15-hour flight from Dubai to Boston. Those seats were on the last plane leaving an airport that was about to close. We were incredibly thankful for those seats. How it was managed, we will probably never know. But the email from the airline with our seat information, when it arrived, was such a relief. I was sobbing. My husband was cheering. Until we had to face the people that had been sharing in the misery of nights spent sleeping in terminals on airport benches, that hadn’t received such good news. They, like us, had been flown from one airport to another. Never allowed to leave the airport secure area. Never allowed entry to whatever country we’d been flown to, or to find a hotel.
They, like us, had been phoning the U.S. Embassy hotline, their Congressman, and their Senator. We were the only ones getting any response. Chris Pappas’ staff was in touch with us every day: sending emails and phoning. Letting us know what they were doing to try to help get us home. I repeat we were the only ones that were hearing back from any government officials. Us. From tiny little NH. Chris Pappas cared. He listened. He got us home.
“Chris Pappas has my vote this November for his re-election. If you want someone who is a leader and will work for you, and will help you when you need it, then I would urge you to vote for him as well,” Mrs. Laurie concluded.
More information about Rep. Chris Pappas is available online: https://www.chrispappas.org.