Iraqi Family Gets Good News
Tech exec and former Army Ranger Blake Hall's phone rang in the middle of the night last week with long awaited news: The family of "Roy," the Iraqi interpreter who was killed while helping his unit in Iraq, was finally getting the green light to come to the US. They arrive next week in San Diego thanks to the help of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and others who pushed along a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Blake, who's been helping the family since early 2011, says a Washington Post opinion piece he wrote last month also put pressure on the State Department to let the family come.
Blake, founder of Troop ID, a McLean, Va., company that digitally verifies military credentials for businesses that offer discounts, reached out to friends and tech colleagues for financial help and supplies for Roy's father, mother, 11-year-old sister, and 22-year-old brother. The family is leaving behind nearly all of their possessions, says Blake. Resettlement agencies offer $200 per family member, per month, and social services. But Blake, who plans to meet them at the airport, says they need more resources to make the adjustment to US life. He firmly believes the move will give them a safer, more promising future: "I've fought so hard for this family to have justice. It's overwhelming."