Eighteen years ago, Awaz Bawari gave birth to a baby girl, Lava, while living in Iraq. Awaz and her family were Kurdish, the Kurdish were an ethnic group that the former Iraqi government had targeted for genocide, and so Awaz was placed on Saddam Hussein's kill list. The situation was dire - she needed to escape as quickly as possible to protect herself, but also to protect her newborn.
The U.S. granted asylum to Awaz, so Awaz headed for the border. Once she arrived, she was devastated to learn that her name was on the list, but her baby girl, Lava had not been included. She was told that she could leave the country, but her then 36-day-old child would have to stay in Iraq.
Greg Peppin, a U.S. Army Officer was present during Awaz's attempt to leave Iraq, and he was within earshot when Awaz was told that she could either leave her baby with family in Iraq, or she could stay in the country herself. Awaz would not leave her baby behind. Quick-thinking Peppin was determined to help, so he stepped up and said that the baby was named "Greg," like him, and that it meant that he was related to the child. This little lie allowed Peppin to usher the child out of Iraq under his passport, and so Awaz and baby Lava were able to escape to the U.S. and start a new life.
Though Lava had never met Peppin, she had been told the story of his kindness countless times. When she reached the age of 18 and would be graduating from high school, she felt she had to meet the man who saved her life, so she invited Peppin to her high school graduation. The video below shows them meeting, and it's absolutely beautiful to hear what Peppin has to say about the occasion; he is a truly remarkable man.
What do you think of what Peppin did for Awaz and Lava? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!