CLARKSTON, Ga. -- As the world continues to focus on Syria, a local combat veteran and the Syrian doctor who treated him want to highlight their common ground.

Sunday, a group of Syrian refugees cooked dinner for a group of U.S. combat veterans. The groups shared food and fellowship at the Clarkston Community Center.

"I want to build friendships between veterans and refugees," Dr. Heval Kelli said. "I think they have similar values, they want to serve this country, they want to help each other."

Kelli came to the U.S. from Syria 15 years ago to fulfill his American dream - working his way up from a dishwasher to a doctor.

In 2016, he treated Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Garrett Cathcart. The two reconnected and decided to make a difference.

"Let's just have a meal together. Syrian refugees and veterans have some amazing things in common. They've known hardship and they love this country," Cathcart said, "while we have a lot of things that are different, those two things are kind of at the core of our existence."

Cathcart said the images of Syrian civilians killed by the chemical weapons attack broke his heart.

"I'm glad that the United States is taking action," Cathcart said, "I do believe in American exceptionalism. When things are going wrong in the world they look to one place and that's us."