Afghan immigrant, paralyzed while working as combat translator, is reunited with family after help from lawmaker
The New York Daily News May 14, 2012
An Afghan immigrant paralyzed while working as a Navy translator has a new gig: interpreting for his wife and kids, reunited with him in Queens after a lawmaker cut through red tape.
“Before, I was always away from them,” Jamil Patkik said as his youngest son, Abdul, 5, cuddled on his lap. “Now we’ll be together forever.”
Patkik’s wife and four kids had been approved to come to New York by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services but languished for 10 months on a waiting list in Pakistan.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand got involved and convinced the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan to issue visas for Patkik’s family, who finally arrived last month.
Patkik, 33, a U.S. citizen, was desperate for them to join him in Flushing because he needs his wife’s help with daily activities.
A civilian combat translator, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a deadly 2010 Black Hawk chopper crash in Afghanistan’s Zabul province.
Nine Americans, including four SEALs with whom Patkik worked closely, died in the accident.
“I thank Mr. Patkik for his heroic service and sacrifice to our country and will continue to assist his family,” Gillibrand said.
Patkik’s wife, Naseem, who had seen him only on Skype for the last two years, is overjoyed the clan is together again. The kids started school and are learning a new language.
“I’m translating English for them,” said Patkik, smiling.
Patkik first immigrated to Queens in 2000 from Pakistan, where his family relocated during the Soviet-Afghan war.
May 14, 2012 - Posted by defensebaseactcomp | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Interpreters | Afghan Interpreter, Civilian Contractor, Combat Translator, Contractor Casualty
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