Entertainment Teen Reunited with Soldier Who Helped Her Escape from Iraq 18 Years...

Teen Reunited with Soldier Who Helped Her Escape from Iraq 18 Years Ago

Lava Barwari
Lava Barwari

An 18-year-old Georgia student’s recent high school graduation was more than just a special milestone – it was a reunion with someone she met when she was just 36 days old.

In 1996, Lava Barwari’s mother, Awaz, was on Saddam Hussein’s kill list.  When Awaz arrived at the border to leave Iraq with her newborn, Iraqi soldiers said that her daughter’s name wasn’t on the list and that she had to stay behind.

“He actually pointed to the window and said, ‘You can toss her to somebody who can deliver her to your family,’ ” Barwari said,  “She’s not a sack of potatoes. I’m not giving her to anybody. That’s my baby. That’s the whole point why I’m leaving my country and my mom behind.”

American soldier Greg Peppin saw what was happening and stepped in.

Peppin asked Barwari what her daughter’s name was, and after she told him it was Lava, he said, “That’s a beautiful name, but today, that’s not her name. Her name is Greg Peppin.”

The U.S. soldier carried Lava across the border using his own passport. “I said my name is Greg so if the baby’s name is Greg it’s got to be a relative and that means she can go,” Peppin told ABC.

But after that lifesaving moment, Lava and Awaz, who settled in Hoschton, Georgia, never saw Peppin again – until Lava’s graduation at Mill Creek High School.

It took her a month to find his email after she was inspired to track him down thanks to a language arts assignment at school.

Lava decided to find Peppin and invite him to her graduation in Gwinnett County, Georgia
Lava decided to find Peppin and invite him to her graduation in Gwinnett County, Georgia

Lava wrote in the classroom assignment, “This very day may have been the most impressive thing to have ever happened to me. I finally get to meet the man who single handedly saved and changed my life forever. And if it was not for writing in my journal in Mrs. Waddell’s class, and telling the story to Mary, I may have never tried to get in touch with him.”

She thanks Peppin for where she is today.

“I wanted him to be here because I wouldn’t have made it here or had a better education than my parents if he hadn’t helped us that day,” she told Fox 5.

Peppin was also thrilled to be there for the graduation.

“It’s an honor for me to be here and see a family like this be a success, this is not a one time [thing]. They’re stuck with me.”

Previous articleObama: Netanyahu has lost credibility
Next articleIsil jihadists close Iraq dam gates