Student to go overseas for relief work

Louisville junior Macy Lethco wears a scarf from her travels to Turkey in a classroom in Gordon Wilson Hall on April 27, 2016. Lethco is embarking on a trip this summer to volunteer with refugees coming through Turkey into Greece. Working at a camp near the eastern coast at Thessaloniki, she will be one of the first faces that thousands of exhausted refugees see after they first arrive in mainland Europe. “The [Turkish] landscape has changed, as it has everywhere,” said Lethco. “But it’s more important than ever to connect with and be welcoming to the people.” Gabriel Scarlett/HERALD

Shantel-Ann Pettway

Studying abroad is something many students at WKU are recommended to do. What better way to spend your summer than in another country earning college credit? Breaking away from this norm, however, one student dared to be different.

A schedule-free summer and connections with a church can land you overseas if you’re like Louisville junior Macy Lethco. Lethco will be spending her summer assisting nonprofit organizations as they provide aid to refugees in Greece.

Lethco is fond of going with the flow. She decided to take this eight-week mission trip to Greece only within the last month.

“This was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up because it was something I was passionate about,” Lethco said.

Lethco has to raise $3,500 for the trip, including the cost of plane tickets and housing. So far, she has raised funds by selling stickers and having an art sale. In the next few weeks, she will have a pancake fundraiser at the Baptist Campus Ministry building on campus as well as another fundraiser at Griff’s Deli.

Lethco said getting the money for this trip isn’t difficult because she has a strong support base.

“I’ve been doing a lot of asking for money,” Lethco said. “My friends have just been donating money and buying artwork.”

She said her passion for Jesus is one of the main reasons she wants to go to Greece and help refugees there.

“I’m passionate about showing God’s love for people everywhere,” Lethco said.

Lethco was in Europe when the Paris attacks happened in November. Though she wasn’t close to the incident, she said it weighed heavily on her that people were being hurt.

“My heart had already been burdened for refugees, but that added to it,” Lethco said. “I saw how quickly people discriminated against Muslims and how people wanted to leave and couldn’t.”

On April 20, WNKY reported that 440 refugees will be locating to Bowling Green over the course of a year.

“440 refugees will be coming to Bowling Green, 40 of which are Syrians, a first ever for Bowling Green,” WNKY reported.

Bowling Green Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Melinda Hill, citing security reasons, sent a release asking that the International Center not allow Syrian refugees.

“The concern is that the federal government does not have a system in place to vet the people coming in to our country. We have no idea if they are safe or not,” Hill said.

Lethco believes that inside Bowling Green, residents can show love to others by making them feel welcome in this community.

“People can do their part by letting refugees feel welcome and know we care about their safety,” Lethco said.

Lethco doesn’t know what exactly to expect from the trip but anticipates tears, appreciation and knowledge.

“I know it’ll be hard because I’ve never worked with people who have intense trauma and loss,” Lethco said.