Thurl Bailey named as state's refugee liaison

Published May 20, 2013 11:02 am
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Former Utah Jazz forward Thurl Bailey will serve as Governor Gary R. Herbert's ambassador to the state's refugee community. Appointed Monday, Bailey will act as a liaison between the Governor and the more than 50,000 refugees who call Utah home.

"Thurl has demonstrated exceptional character and passion, both on and off the court," Governor Herbert said. "His advocacy on behalf of Utah's refugees will be extremely beneficial as we continue to help them integrate into our communities, and enhance the fabric of our great state and unique quality of life."

Many refugees face employment, language and other challenges. Utah's largest refugee communities — about 5,000 apiece — are from Iraq, Burma, Somalia and Bhutan. There are also smaller refugee communities from many other nations.

"It is an honor to be afforded this unique opportunity," Bailey said. "I am humbled and firmly committed to reaching out the hand of fellowship to our refugees on behalf of the Governor and the Great State of Utah."

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