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Hartland grad honored for work with Afghan refugees

A Livingston County man was honored Monday for his efforts in “the safekeeping and evacuation of refugee families from Afghanistan.”

In a Congressional tribute by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, 2013 Hartland High School graduate Christopher Pumford was honored as being among “a small group of advocates representing the very best among us” who stepped up in August of 2021 as the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, ending more than two decades of U.S involvement.

The tribute, which was read aloud at Monday’s Howell City Council meeting by Mona Shand, Rep. Slotkin’s Livingston County field representative, noted how Pumford “logged hundreds of volunteer hours with The Fletcher Afghanistan Evacuation & Resettlement Working Group, a grassroots organization that provides emergency support and resettlement assistance to Afghans.”

As part of that work, he served as the lead volunteer responsible for dispersing funds to Afghans in hiding to cover the costs of safe houses.

“He also tracks and manages reimbursement for food drops for these same refugees,” read the tribute. “His faithful efforts are credited with sustaining the lives of 18 families throughout the most harrowing year.”

In addition, Pumford personally registered more than 100 Afghan families for evacuation and has devoted more than 800 hours of service to assisting those families with what were described as the “enormous challenges of food, shelter, and , security, and has done everything in his power to prepare them for a better future.”

Pumford, who is currently living in Morocco as a Fulbright scholar, joined Monday’s council meeting via FaceTime, while his parents, Lawrence and Lorena Pumford, and his grandmother were at the meeting in person. Lawrence Pumford is the Principal at Creekside Elementary School in Hartland.

Slotkin’s tribute ended by noting that as the  evacuation efforts from Afghanistan will continue for years, “it’s entirely possible that Mr. Pumford will never meet the families he is working so hard to protect and rescue from the clutches of the Taliban. But their hearts will forever carry the story of the stranger who cared enough to help.”

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