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Home Federal Bank honors 'Hometown Hero' for work with Burundi refugees

4:57 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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Home Federal Bank honored a quiet hero, who's made a big impact on her community.

Monday afternoon, the bank honored Sandra Fugate as its "Hometown Hero" for her work helping Burundi refugees assimilate in America.

Burundi is a small, central African country with a history of civil wars since its European colonizers left the country in 1959. In the early 1990s, the Tutsi committed genocide against its rival Hutu tribe in Burundi and Rwanda. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people fled the country as the conflict continues.

Fugate runs her light mission for Burundi refugees out of the Pentecostal Church in Lonsdale.

She said it's been great to witness the growth of the families who made East Tennessee their new homes.

"Quite a few of them came here in 2007, so they've been here for five years and are beginning to earn their citizenship," said Fugate.

She said for some of the refugees, transitioning to life in American from their native country has been tough.  To help in her effort to make refugees' assimilation a bit easier, Home Federal Bank will donate $2,500 dollars to the church in her name.

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