Sri Lankan refugee now calls York County home

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MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa.-- As many Americans debate whether Syrian refugees should be allowed in the U.S., a Sri Lankan man, who escaped civil war in his country at 14-years old, is living in York County. He's thankful to be able to live here and raise his family.

When the grill sizzles at Round the Clock Diner in Manchester Township, York County, it's a normal day for Thavarajah Thiruneelakavdan. The 41-year old is a cook at restaurant. He works 50-hours a week and loves every minute of it.

"I apply one evening, next morning I call, my boss tell me, hey come over at 2:00, I start work next day," Thiruneelakavdan says.

That was 14-years ago. He came to the U.S. after spending years in Europe. He fled his native Sri Lanka when he was just a teenager. His family sent him away to escape civil war and an almost certain death. As a refugee, he was granted asylum and has a Green Card. He is now married with an 8-month old son and another baby boy on the way. They will both be U.S. citizens and he too. has applied for citizenship.
While he misses his family, this is now home.

Thiruneelakavdan says, "I like York, I like Manchester because I look at people who buy houses, and I get a house in Manchester, I say, I have a car license and everything, thanks God, that's all I need, I stay here."

His mother, brother and one sister are still living in Sri Lanka. He also has another sister in Holland.


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