DES MOINES, IOWA — Sam and Tricia Gabriel got off work on a dark January evening in Iowa. The temperature outside was -13 degrees Celsius (8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Instead of settling into their cozy suburban townhome with their children, ages 9 and 2, the Gabriels quickly returned to the roads, slick with ice. Tricia drove her car in one direction while Sam drove a 15-passenger van in another, and for the next 1½ hours they picked up 30 children of mostly African refugees from across the Des Moines, Iowa, metropolitan area.
The children, ages 4 to 14, were taken to a local elementary school, where they practiced schoolwork, soccer and dance. Two hours later, Sam and Tricia drove them all back home, returning to their townhome after 10 p.m.
They said they do this every weeknight to help the children adjust to America. They don’t consider it heroic. Not compared to what they endured.