NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Sarasota Sheriff helps deputy evacuate 33 family members from Afghanistan to U.S.

Deputy and family.jfif
Posted at 8:26 PM, Sep 03, 2021

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — A Sarasota County sheriff's deputy is counting his blessings after the Sarasota County Sheriff, along with other government and military officials, helped him bring 33 of his 34 family members to the United States from Afghanistan.

Deputy Mubarak was born and raised in a rural village in Afghanistan.

“I remember not having shoes until I was 22-years-old,” said Deputy Mubarak.

He started working in the fields at age 5, had to walk an hour and a half each way to attend school, and he says he was in middle school when the Taliban first took over in the 90s.

Then, shortly after he graduated high school, he started working for the U.S. military as an interpreter.

“My father encouraged me and my brother to go ahead and help the international community, specifically the United States so that there is no misunderstanding between them and the public,” said Deputy Mubarak.

He served as an interpreter for 8 years, serving alongside the U.S. Special Forces, and alongside Marine Colonel Randy Hoffman, a cousin to Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman.

“My cousin tells me often that if it was not for Deputy Mubarak, there would be a lot of marines that are not alive today including him, because of his service,” said Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman.

Deputy Mubarak then made his way to the United States with his wife and two kids in 2009.

“It was not safe for my family, for my children, for the immediate family, and it was also not safe for me,” said Deputy Mubarak.

Deputy Mubarak continued his work with the military in the U.S., even helping them build a mock Afghan village in California to assist in military training.

He did all of this while continuing his education, eventually earning his bachelor's and master's degrees.

Then in December 2020, Deputy Mubarak and his family moved to Sarasota where he was hired by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in April.

“This was one of my dreams to be in a position where I can help people,” said Deputy Mubarak.

He was fulfilling his life dreams, but he started to worry for his family back in Afghanistan during the recent Taliban takeover, as 34 of his immediate family members were still living in the country.

“People were talking about them, and so they asked me, that I have to do everything I could to get them out of Afghanistan,” said Deputy Mubarak.

He worked with Sheriff Hoffman, as well as members of the military, the State Department, and Senator Rick Scott's office to help bring his family here.

“The Taliban had turned them away about 4 times, the 5th time they made it to a gate, there was an interpreter there who called out their name, they made their way to the gate through the crowd, and for the grace of god a Taliban person at the gate stepped aside and let them on to the airport,” said Sheriff Hoffman.

Deputy Mubarak's father died of what appears to be a heart attack while preparing to make his way to the airport, but 33 of Deputy Mubarak's 34 family members were able to safely make it to Fort Bliss in Texas where they are waiting on Special Immigrant Visas.

“I really wish that my dad lived a little longer because he’s the one that started the whole thing. I just wanted him to come here and see the result of all the things that he had been telling us to do,” said Deputy Mubarak.

And now, a man who has given so much to his country, and the Tampa Bay community, is in need of help from them.

“His entire family is gonna come over here, and generations of young women who would be under Taliban rule, and his male family members who would probably be in danger of their life because of what he did for our country, are here, and I think it’s the least we can do to try to help them be successful,” said Sheriff Hoffman.

Deputy Mubarak's family is arriving with merely the clothing on their back. So the sheriff's office has started a GoFundMe page for the family.

If you'd like to donate, click here.