Tucson veterans greet Afghan soldier they helped rescue from Taliban
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – One story we’ve been following has come full circle. Tony Short and Hazem Amiry, who once fought together in Afghanistan, were reunited on US soil on Friday evening.
Amiry was greeted by southern Arizona veterans and their families at Tucson International Airport. The crowd cheered and waved signs as he descended the escalator. Amiry then shook hands with Short, and the two kissed for the first time in seven years.
âI don’t know how to explain when I saw him,â Amiry said. “I am very happy.”
For Operation 22 Restore Hope, it was mission accomplished!
âIt’s long overdue,â said Short.
Short served in the US Air Force for 22 years. In 2014, he was deployed to Afghanistan where he met Amiry.
âOn January 29, 2015, we had an insider attack,â said Short. “If it hadn’t been for him and the relationship we actually built and our communication between us, I would say it unfortunately would have been a lot worse.”
So when Kabul fell and Short had the chance to return the favor, he did. With the help of Operation 22, a nonprofit organization that supports military veterans and first responders with PTSD, Short was able to bring Amiry to Old Pueblo.
âIn fact, we eliminated about 15 Taliban in what we considered to be internal threats. So, yeah, I think the Taliban would have been looking for him, âShort said.
Amiry, his wife and their five children; aged 10 months to 16 years old, will make Tucson their new home.
âIt’s like leaving your whole life behind,â Short said. “And you show up with nothing but the clothes on your back.”
An Air Force widow recently donated her husband’s car to the family, and Automotive Diesel and Performance is providing free labor to fix it. Operation 22 is also collecting household items and monetary donations to help them get back on their feet.
“It gives me chills to know that he will take the oath of an American citizen as we take the oath to be a serviceman and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America,” said Mark Lacy, founder of the United States of America. southern Arizona. Musicians for Healing and Operation 22. âHe’s going to be us; it will bleed red, white and blue. He will still have ties to his native country, but he will be an American citizen, as will his family. I just hope the community of Tucson embraces him and his family the same way they have embraced others.
Amiry’s family will join him as soon as he finds accommodation. He hasn’t seen them for five months. To help the Amiry family, click HERE.
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