Ex-military interpreter saves neighbor’s baby as fire rips through apartments

Sometimes rebuilding is a part of life – and nobody knows that better than Ahmad Hamid Shorish.

Shorish and his family recently moved to El Cajon, California, on a Special Immigrant Visa, a program available to people who worked with the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator in the Middle East.

He worked side-by-side with Americans as an interpreter in the Helmand Province, one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan.

“July of 2017, I come here to the United States and I lived in this apartment [in El Cajon],” Shorish said.

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Amanda Matti, part of No One Left Behind, which helps newly arriving interpreters with essential services, helped Shorish and his family settle in El Cajon.

“He really was, you know, shoulder to shoulder in a war zone with our guys, helping to execute our missions,” Matti said. “Once the Taliban or other insurgencies learn that they’re helping us, often times they end up on death lists, so we bring them here to safety.”

Friday, a fire that started in the apartment above Shorish’s and ripped through his Evergreen Gardens Apartments home. Everything he had built over the last few six months was destroyed.

But a selfless and brave act by Shorish saved a baby boy’s life.

“The boy, around eleven months or 1-years-old,” Shorish recalled. “He was little, yeah.”

Shorish ran into the burning apartment building to rescue his neighbor’s baby from the flames.

“My son told me ‘Hey Dad, when I saw you, you bring the kids and the mom comes, you look to me like a superman,'” Shorish said. “I was so happy about this. My son told me this.”

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Now as he rebuilds his family’s life yet again, he hopes compassion and courage can be their cornerstone.

“This is a human’s life. Maybe sometimes we can help each other,” Shorish said. “I lost these things but I do not care about these because I have some friends to help me. I think about my kids’ lives and my wife’s life and my neighbor, they’re ok, my kids are ok, that’s everything for me.”

The family has moved into another apartment in the same complex.

The community is rallying around Shorish to help him replace what the fire destroyed. A GoFundMe campaign has also been established to help.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.