As the first plane of Syrian refugees landed in Canada last week, the country laid on an incredibly warm welcome.

While newly elected prime minister Justin Trudeau waited at the airport to personally greet the 163 arrivals from Beirut - handing out winter coats and welcome packs - a choir of schoolchildren performed a rendition of the song sung to Mohamed when he sought refuge.

But buried among the coverage of the touchdown, was the touching story of a retired couple who donated their savings to the cause.

As The New York Times notes, the first wave of Syrians were sponsored by individuals or groups who pledged to arrange housing, education and other resettlement needs.

Sponsors had to raise 28,000 Canadian dollars, which they managed almost immediately thanks to Robert and Jacqui Nunn.

Mr Nunn, 65 and recently retired, said he was looking for 'an indulgence' to mark the event. In Huntsville, an ad on a bulletin board for a motorboat caught his eye. Along with the boat ad, he also took a flyer from a refugee group.

'A fancy trip, a car or boat, kind of diminish and memories fade,' said Mr Nunn, who had never supported any refugee group. 'This refugee effort will have effects that go on for generations. Where is the best value, where is the best return? I threw away the boat ad.'

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