OAKWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) — From more than 7,000 miles away, an Oakwood man is helping people in Afghanistan escape to safety as explosions near the Kabul airport ramp up the mounting pressure to evacuate.
Chris Endres, now a realtor, is an Air Force veteran. From 2015 to 2018 he worked in Kabul as a body guard and medic getting U.S. diplomats in and out of the city safely.
Even after leaving the service, he’s now using his knowledge to carry out the spirit of the military, making sure no one gets left behind.
“I guess the most difficult part has been making potential life or death decisions for people on where to go, when to go,” says Endres.
Trying to guide an interpreter he used to work with to safety, Endres first put a call out on social media.
“I just put a post on my Facebook and said if any of my friends are working in Kabul right now, please reach out to me. I need some help,” describes Endres.
Within minutes of making the post, it exploded into a web of people working together.
“We started gathering intelligence just kind of off of our knowledge of the city and known routes that we used to travel,” states Endres.
Chris and his network mapped out potentially safe routes and key gates. In a matter of days, they’ve helped 19 people–including his interpreter–escape.
Even from behind a computer screen, the toll has been both physical and emotional with Endres working around the clock and on little sleep.
“To have people there on the ground that you know and care about makes it a little more difficult,” admits Endres.
“Seeing his dedication, seeing him working around the clock on two time zones, working with all of these people from all over the world– I definitely see him as a hero because the risk associated with that endeavor was huge,” says Endres’ girlfriend Denise Allen.
As chaos continues to erupt and the danger increases, his goal is to get as many people out in as little time as possible.
“Keep plugging away, as much as I can, wherever I can,” says Endres.
He says getting people to safety is just the first step in a very long process. He says now, it’s making sure they get through the visa process and get settled in the U.S. to start a new life.