Yesterday, I had the honor to help our Southern California team welcome home Jack – an Afghan who served as an interpreter for the US military for 6 years – a six tour combat veteran.
Thanks to your support, Jack has a home and a community that has already fully embraced him.
As part of our Operation Welcome Home, we like to greet as many interpreters as they arrive in the US. We given them the hero’s welcome they’ve earned. We applaud and cheer. We thank them profusely for their service to our nation. I remember just how special it felt to my soldiers and me as we were greeted in similar fashion upon our return home. We wanted to ensure the interpreters – also American veterans – got the same welcome home. Its one of the most emotional and joyful things we do.
One of the first people to greet Jack was Johnny (in the white shirt), a former Iraqi interpreter for US Special Forces, who is now a very proud American citizen. The look on his face when he reached for Jack’s and kissed him is something I’ll never forget.
Realizing we’re in Southern California and extremely close to the beach, I asked Jack if he’d ever seen the ocean. He said, “No! Can we?”
We left the airport and immediately drove to the beach. As soon as he saw the water, he did it proper, took off his socks and shoes, rolled up his pant legs, and wadded right it. As we watched the sun set and listened to the calming sound of the waves breaking, he turned to me and said, “so I don’t have to carry my weapon anymore?” I put my arm around him and replied, “no brother, you’re safe now.”
This is why we exist – to Keep America’s Promise and ensure that all of our veterans make it home.
There are still an estimated 16,500+ interpreters and their families awaiting visas in Afghanistan and Iraq. Frighteningly, the UN estimates that the Taliban/Al-Qaeda/ISIS murders an Afghan who served with the US every 36 hours.
We aim to get them all home. But, we can’t do it without your help.
Will you contribute today so that we can continue our mission? We want to give all of them a hero’s welcome like Jack’s. Without your help, we can only begin to fear what will happen to those left behind.
Your contribution will go directly to ensuring that we continue to Keep America’s Promise by helping our interpreters earn their visas, find affordable housing in the US, are welcomed into fully furnished homes, and provided with the cars, jobs, and mentoring necessary to successfully integrate and assimilate into American life.
Thanks to your support we now operate in nine cities and have helped resettle over 550 people nationwide since our founding in November 2013. That’s simply amazing, but our work is only just getting started. There are thousands of other “Jack’s” awaiting our support. Help us keep our promise and bring them home. Please, help us save them. Donate today.