ISRAEL — The conflict between Israel and Hamas is hitting close to home for a former University of Dayton athlete.
Vee Sanford is at an Israeli Airport waiting to catch a flight to Greece.
“Fortunately for us at the time we were in the north, but we know the north has gotten a lot worse. The team allowed the Americans to evacuate and go to Greece,” Sanford said.
Sanford was only in Israel for a month, playing in the European Cup League.
His immediate family lives in Europe, and he’s been getting calls from people in the States since Saturday.
“They’ve been calling me every day just checking in on me. Making sure my mental is fine. They’ve been worried from what they are seeing on the news but when they call me, I tell them everything is okay they’re at ease.”
One of Sanford’s biggest concerns is not for himself, instead making sure people are compassionate about the conflict going on.
“It’s kind of upsetting to see on social media people are torn between the two. But just realized people’s lives are being taken on both sides and to just have some sincerity for what’s actually going on,” Sanford said.
Currently, Sanford and other American teammates are still scheduled to play in Greece.
But his Israeli-born teammates and coaches are uncertain.
“Hopefully everything is okay for them to arrive. We’ll train and then play in the international league and then after that maybe go back home to France,” Sanford said.
Sanford’s manager and one of the coaches on the staff served in the military years ago.
He said they are now being called back into the reserves.
Here in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has ordered flags across the state to be flown at half-staff in response to the attack.
The death toll reached at least 900 after the attack by Hamas militants.
The Pentagon has already deployed the USS Gerald Ford to station itself outside of Israel.
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