SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Nebraska (KCAU)– As conflict around the globe takes center stage, people in Sioux City learned about the importance of refugees in our community.

Each year Lutheran Services in Iowa helps roughly 200 refugees settle in Iowa and today, the 2nd annual Empower Sioux City luncheon brought folks to the Cottonwood Conference Center in South Sioux. 3 refugees who settled in the city shared their stories about what it was like for them to arrive in Sioux City many years ago. Vinh Nguyen, with LSI, states that he was one of many refugees who came to the state due to the Vietnam War.

“I was once a new arrival back in the time when the boat people arrived in the state of Iowa under Governor Robert D. Ray leadership, so I truly appreciate the community effort to help the refugees and immigrants here in the state to prosper. You know, I’m here today because the work that people have done many years ago,” said Nguyen.

LSI has housed thousands of refugees throughout Iowa and as wars in Ukraine and most recently Israel continue, Sarah Green, with Lutheran Services in Iowa, states they are unsure what needs will be in the near future.

“We haven’t received any news yet about the conflict, so we don’t know if we’ll be receiving any refugees. We’re certainly welcoming anyone that is going to come through LSi,” said Green.

Green hopes after learning what it was like for refugees to come to Iowa and how difficult it was for them at first, folks will feel more empowered to talk about this topic and invite others to show their support for refugees.