The photograph of three-year-old Alan Kurdi's body washed up on a beach in Turkey last month has spurred Hampton lawyer David Lutz into action to help Syrian refugees.
Lutz started a campaign to raise $200,000 to bring 10 Syrian refugee families to greater Saint John.
Starting with $5,000 of his own money, Lutz approached several friends who also put up money, bringing the total to $30,000. Then on Friday afternoon, he put the word out to other lawyers and professionals.
"I sent out the email on Friday afternoon about three o'clock," said Lutz, "and by four o'clock I had 7,000 more dollars."
"I've gone to 250 lawyers that I consider friends of mine. And as soon as that part is exhausted I'm going to go to all the other lawyers in the province. I want to approach doctors, and dentists and engineers — anybody who's benefited from our education system and living in this great province."
For Lutz, it's personal. In 1969, he fled to Canada from the U.S. because he didn't want to fight in Vietnam. He said it was easy for him to come here. He just packed his belongings into his VW bug and drove north, where he was welcomed. Lutz said he would like to do the same for Syrians, many of whom don't have the advantage of easing into the country as he did.
"First of all we have to get them here. Some people think they can't afford $1,000 or $5,000. I'd take all of the Air Miles we could get."
With the province losing population, Lutz believes this is a way to mitigate that situation while also helping others.
"These people aren't going to be a drain on our province. They're going to be a bonus."
The Hampton United Church is helping in the effort. Lutz said the church has the contacts with the appropriate government departments and non-government organizations.