Greg Peppin is a Shining Example of Humanity #AtoZChallenge

by - April 08, 2017

In 1996, young Awaz Barwari was on Saddam Hussein's hit list for 'the crime of being Kurdish', an ethnic group targeted for genocide. The U.S. offered to help her out of the country. But when she reached the border, there was an unforeseen complication. Her baby - 36 days old - was not on the list and would not be allowed to leave Iraq. She could leave her baby in Iraq or else stay back and face certain death.

Awaz Barwari seemed destined for death, unwilling to give up her newborn until a stranger, a US soldier, came to her aid. Determined not to allow either the mother or child to be killed, Lt. Colonel Greg Peppin stepped forward and claimed the child as his own so that the baby could reach America under his passport. Once she realized what the soldier was trying to do, Awaz went along with the ruse. Mother and child safely escaped Iraq and reached the United States.

The soldier and the woman lost touch after they landed and years passed by as the two moved on with their respective lives. But the tale of the soldier was stuck in one young mind. Lava Barwari, the baby who escaped, grew up wondering about the American her mother spoke of. And when the time came for her high school graduation, she found him via the internet.

The day I got Lava's email was one of those signature 
days that kind of make your life worthwhile,
Greg Peppin.

Lava Barwari met Greg Peppin for only the second time in her life just before her graduation ceremony began.

Lawa Barwari met Greg Peppin for the second time in her life at her high school graduation
'I'm happy you tracked me down. I wouldn't miss 
this for the world,' Greg Peppin told Lava as she 
finally hugged and thanked the man who saved her life.

Are you curious to know what Lava Barwari felt?

I know I was. So I 'followed her technique and tracked her down online' and she was gracious enough to pen her feelings here.

Meeting Greg was so surreal. When I told my mom I wanted to invite him she was completely supportive until we looked him up to try and find him. I remember she told me not to try and contact him but I didn't listen. Part of me said that I had to. So I did and with the help of a classmate I got his email. I wrote and kept rewriting the email so many times until I forced myself to send it.
I was scared too because at the back of my mind I thought "What if he wants nothing to do with me or what if he doesn't remember me." 

I got an email the next day while in English class and I tried so hard not to freak out. I was trying to get my friend's attention from across the room. And then I texted my mom in all caps saying "HE REMEMBERS ME!" My mom was so confused but when I sent her the email she was also really happy.

I knew graduation wouldn't have been the same if he didn't come after that. It was my way of saying thank you for helping save us during a really bad time. He's such a genuine person and it's hard to find people like that now a days. I know if it weren't for him helping my mom we wouldn't be here. And I will always be thankful from the bottom of my heart to this man.

Why I want you to remember Greg Peppin

A lie that saves an innocent life is no lie in my book. When the choice comes down to following the rule book or helping someone by doing the right thing, I hope you find it in your heart to always - ALWAYS - do the right thing.

I hope you will find it in you to someday be a Greg Peppin to someone in need.

The inspiring story of humanity of Greg Peppin and Lava Barwari

This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes: Shining Examples of Kindness and Compassion. You can find other real-life heroes here.

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  1. What a joy it must have been for Lava to connect back with her saviour, Greg! And what a proud moment it must have been for Greg!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

  2. Beautiful story! I love your theme for A to Z!

  3. Simply Great story Roshan. Thanks for sharing. This one brought a smile to my face early in the day.

  4. Do the right thing - such an important lesson. And how easy to forget, in the world we live what is right! This is a story that is going to stay with me forever and whenever I am faced with a difficult choice, I know Greg Peppin will always be an example I follow.

    PS: Thank you Doc for taking up this theme, I needed it more than I knew.

  5. Oh! I had tears in my eyes reading this one. Such a beautiful soul. We need many such compassionate people when there is hatred all around.

  6. Beautiful story....We need more and more of this....To make the world a better place

  7. This story brought a tear to my eye.

  8. This is such a sweet story of some one having made a difference! Greg didn't think of what backlash he might have faced, just saving a life. Many others might have had the capability to do something to save Lava, but it is Greg's choice that made his incredibly. Hope there are more like him in this world. We certainly need them!

  9. Some meetings are just fated. How beautiful that a random act of kindness changed the life of another human being in such a huge way. Such a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing.

    Suzy at Someday Somewhere - Great minds

  10. The right thing at the right moment can change lives and history.We all have the power.Great story Dr.Roshan

  11. OOH! That made my heart smile. Such a noble and a compassionate deed done by Greg Peppin in the time of war! Yes, a lie that saves an innocent life is no lie!!
    Yes, I would want to be a 'Greg Peppin' to someone in need, not once but always!

  12. Warm stories like this kind of reinforces my faith in humanity ....Thanks for sharing Roshan

  13. I've had a great interest in the Holocaust since early childhood and I've often thought about if I had it in me to help strangers or even people I knew at great peril - something that happened many times during World War II. I looked upon Greg's face and knew he is a true hero.

  14. Oh wow, If I were Lava I'd name my son Greg :D

    Such a hero!

  15. I am in love with this series and you are doing a splendid job in bringing these stories to us. Bit I am so happy that you had reached out to them! I really don't have words to say how I feel.
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  16. Touching story of selfless love for others. Do what feels right and dont look out for what others think or say. Good story.

  17. I remember reading something about a cop attending graduation of a girl.Hope you feature them as well.

  18. You've got to stop making me cry with your posts, Roshan. Each one is a gem to be read, re-read and kept aside for reading again when we ever lose sight of the gorgeousness that can be humanity. Thank you so much for this theme and kudos to your perseverance in tracking people down and sharing their stories. Thank you.

  19. Greg is great. Glad Lava contacted him.
    Nice to read about inspiring stories thanks to you, Doc ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

    In the Hindi movie, Airlift, an Indian does a similar act & claims a Kuwaiti woman & her child are his family so that they get Indian passports & return to safety.

  20. What a fantastic story this is! From great tragedies come great tales of compassion and humanity. This is one of them.
    So glad to be following your series Doc :)

  21. That was such a wonderful thing to do! And it was good that Lava tracked her hero. I really love all of your stories and appreciate all the efforts you make such lovely stories to us everyday!

  22. I'm in love with all your real life heroes, but this one seems to be my favorite! How really thoughtful and large hearted can one possibly be. It's endearing that Lava actually valued his help and tracked him down.

  23. This is such a beautiful story and totally made my day. Gorgeous! Such a courageous gesture and then the warm showed by Lava.
    Roshan - how did you find these stories? I am so so curious

  24. What an amazing story, and what a great theme! Thank you for sharing it!

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  25. What a wonderful moment it must have been to finally meet him! I am loving each and every post in this series. Makes me smile and cry at the same time. Kudos!

  26. What a beautiful story. Such a simple "lie" with such a profound impact. WeekendsInMaine

  27. This made me cry. Truly! Such a heart warming post!
    Hugs, doc! These posts are so special. Will keep coming back to these!

  28. That's so lovely...your theme makes me feel good every day! :)

    Ghazal - Love

  29. So beautiful, Roshan! Your stories literally make my heart melt!


  30. At a time of intolerance where innocent are killed over beef and small children ruthlessly murdered in Syria, people like Greg Peppin selflessly showed us that not all is lost. He is a true soldier for humanity. Thanks for writing about it.

  31. One small act, and a lifetime of positivity. Indeed, it took guts for Greg to do what he did, but I'm sure that after meeting Lava at her graduation, he felt happy about doing the right thing! A true real-life hero indeed :)

  32. Doc, I hate you for making me cry at work every day as I read your posts.
    How many of us would think of lying to save someone's life. What a wonderful human being!

  33. When I started reading your posts the ember of hope that I had within, that there are more good deeds and good people than the not so good ones in this world, was being fanned by them. I can say the ember has turned into a flame with each passing post. Thank you for these stories, Doc. May you be blessed!

  34. Oh Roshan, this was such a beautifully touching story! Rula diya, buddy!
    Kindness and humanity are rare in this world, is what we often feel when someone doesn't help us. What we fail to ponder over is, would we go out of our way and help someone like Greg did?
    Such an amazing human being! He is a hero!

    Thank you for sharing this story!


Let me know what you think.