A young woman named Lava Barwari felt extremely lucky to graduate from High School. Not because of difficult courses, too much homework or any of the usual reasons. But because her mother was once on Saddam Hussein’s official “Kill List”, and Lava almost didn’t make it out of Iraq.
A Dangerous Journey
Lava Barwari’s mother is a Kurd who was living in Iraq two decades ago. At that time, Kurds were prosecuted and many were killed. Awaz Barwari, Lava’s mother, knew she was in grave danger. It was time to get out.
Awaz made the difficult decision to flee her country. She set out on a slow, perilous journey to the border between Iraq and Turkey. Things got even worse when she attempted to cross.
A solider stopped her. He said she could go, but could not bring her baby.
Leave Your Baby Behind
This soldier knew that Awaz was on the Kill List. But Lava was not, so he told the distressed mother to leave her baby behind. Reportedly, he even suggested that she “toss her baby to someone in the guard shack” and ask them to deliver her later.
Of course Awaz refused. She wasn’t going anywhere without her precious daughter. They would leave together or not at all.
An argument ensued. It got loud enough that a man named Greg Peppin overheard. Greg was a soldier, and the only American at this border. When he heard the commotion, Greg stopped to investigate. He took an immediate interest in the disturbing events that were unfolding in front of him.
An American Soldier Takes Action
After listening to the full story, Greg knew exactly what to do. He asked Awaz for the little girl’s name. When she told him, Greg said it was beautiful. Then he said that the baby’s name, at least for that day, was actually Greg Peppin.
The soldier went on to explain that his name was Greg Peppin. If he and the baby shared that name, then it was clear they were related. And since the baby was his relative, of course she would be allowed to cross the border.
A grateful mother eagerly agreed. She and her daughter were safely ushered into Turkey.
A Search, A Graduation And A Reunion
Years later, the Barwari family was living in Georgia. Lava was working on an assignment and consulted with her mother. During their discussion, Awaz told the harrowing story of that fateful day in Iraq.
The impact was immediate. Lava was so touched. She had to find the man who saved her.
After completing a people search, Lava found contact information for Greg Peppin. She sent him a heartfelt email, thanking him for what he’d done. Greg was excited to hear from Lava, and to learn that she was doing so well.
When it was time for Lava to graduate, she had a very special guest. Greg was there to support her, just as he’d done many years before. The pair shared an emotional reunion that changed their lives.
An Ongoing Connection
Their story doesn’t stop at graduation. Greg is now retired, and happy to be involved in Lava’s life. As he said, this wasn’t just a one-time thing. Peppin is now thought of as a member of their extended family.
Do you have someone you’d like to find? Run a people search today so you can reach out and bring someone special back into your life.
We’re very happy for the Barwari’s and Greg. We hope they’ll enjoy many exciting, but safe adventures together!