Area vet tries to reunite Iraqi interpreter with family

Philip Saved American Soldiers. GoFundMe

Last December, Philip — his last name isn’t being used — arrived in Minnesota with just the clothes on his back.

The Iraqi who served as an interpreter for U.S. forces was left behind when Americans withdrew from Iraq. Area veterans, however, didn’t forget him and fought for three years to get the State Department to issue a visa for him to come to the United States, where he settled in Blaine and works in elder care.

But he had to leave his family behind and the government has been unhelpful reuniting them.

So Paul Braun, a Fargo native and Twin Cities federal law enforcement officer, is raising the money to try to get the family back together.

“This man risked everything to help his community and saved the lives of numerous American soldiers, but now he cannot live in his own country,” Braun writes on the goFundme website he’s just set up.

Philip was our interpreter in Basra Iraq in 2009 and continued to work for the US Army until our country pulled out of Iraq. He not only risked his life by assisting us but also saved our lives by alerting us to impending insurgent attacks.

Philip became an interpreter to help his country and for that the militias have been trying to kill him. Tragically it was all too common for the insurgents to execute interpreters who were assisting us and it became very clear that Philip was to face this fate as well.

In December 2013, after 3 years of work with the State Department, he was granted a Visa and is now living in Minnesota with a soldier that he worked with. Since legally arriving in the United States, Philip works two jobs, has refused to go on government assistance and volunteers assisting disabled veterans.

“It’s awesome,” Philip tells the Fargo Forum today. “He’s my angel.”

“It’s very difficult to enjoy the freedom we have here when his family is back there,” Braun tells the paper.