No One Left Behind celebrates its official launch on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at George Bush Park in west Houston, Texas. Welcoming over 150 people, including Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, their families and friends, veterans, and leadership, to join in the festivities. Soccer, basketball, tetherball, and a moonwalk were well enjoyed by the families and children who attended. Local Afghan and Iraqi restaurants, Afghan Village, Shiwari, and Al Nakhil, graciously provided food for the event. Two speakers, Jason Gorey (CEO of No One Left Behind) and Anas Ebraheem (Iraqi social media influencer), who emphasized the role and importance of SIV’s and their families in our community. Leadership welcomed attendees in all languages represented, including English, Dari, Arabic, and Pashto.
No One Left Behind is dedicated to ensuring that America keeps its promise to our wartime allies from Iraq and Afghanistan. The non-profit is the only nation-wide association of wartime allies in the US supported by an alliance of individual veterans, civilians, and other partner organizations. Following the kickoff party, the Houston team is setting up two programs to assist SIV communities. Operation Welcome Home, the first of the locally operating programs, serves to both welcome and help establish SIV recipients and families from the minute they arrive in Houston. Operation Got Your Back focuses on helping SIV’s become self-sufficient, with assistance focusing on career and educational development. The Houston team already begun training volunteers and welcoming new arrivals at the airport and looks forward to working further with these SIV recipients and their families as they settle into their new lives in Houston.