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Old 12-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #11
gap134
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Yes, I second the motion to have Eric put a link to Russell's site on the main page like cclngthr suggested.
I third it!
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:29 AM   #12
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We have snow mixed with rain here today, and the day before yesterday was the first time that Abdul drove in the snow. Wardah told me that she was praying all the way to Walmart that Abdul wouldn't slide off the road.

Merry Christmas Cindy to you and your family.

Russell"
it is truly a yucky day around here! I am impressed he went to Wal-Mart, I have to go myself and it won't be fun
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:54 PM   #13
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it is truly a yucky day around here! I am impressed he went to Wal-Mart, I have to go myself and it won't be fun
I bet people recognize them now. Isn't that weird. Now they are famous. I hope people are nice to the family since they risked their lives to protect our soldiers by not cooperating with terrorists.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:08 PM   #14
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Yes, I second the motion to have Eric put a link to Russell's site on the main page like cclngthr suggested.
I was so moved by this story that I went ahead a made a donation to this family online.
To my surprise, Russell responded back within 10 minutes....

"I can't thank you enough for you donation. On a personal note, is your last name hispanic?

Keep safe in WA. We have snow mixed with rain here today, and the day before yesterday was the first time that Abdul drove in the snow. Wardah told me that she was praying all the way to Walmart that Abdul wouldn't slide off the road.

Merry Christmas Cindy to you and your family.

Russell"
My wife keeps me from making spur-of-the-moment donations such as this, but I did sign up for their newsletter, and got a personal reply as well. Amazing.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:47 PM   #15
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'A miracle' — Aiding children with dwarfism

Deployed pilot befriends Iraqi family similar to his own
By Jason Swensen
Church News staff writer
Published: Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009
Russell Hayes has learned that one man's coincidences can be another family's miracles.



Russell Hayes
In 2007, Russell Hayes was unexpectedly summoned back to active military duty as a helicopter pilot and deployed to Iraq. He soon met the Abdul Salman family, who, like his family, have children with dwarfism.


Brother Hayes is a Church convert and a war veteran who flew helicopters in Vietnam decades ago. After being discharged from the U.S. Army, he went about the business of starting a family and a professional aviation career. His days in uniform, he believed, were far behind him.
Then in 2007 he was unexpectedly summoned back to active military duty as a helicopter pilot. He learned he would be deployed to Iraq. His first impulse was to fight the orders. But after much prayer, his wife, Carmen, told him that perhaps the abrupt changes happening in his life were meant to be.

Russell Hayes
Salman family children.



"Why fight it?" she said. "Maybe God has a reason for you to go to Iraq."
Brother Hayes said that reason became a bit clearer a short time after leaving his Idaho home and arriving in Iraq. The chief warrant officer stumbled across an article in a local newspaper that told the story of an Iraqi man who had been involved in fighting fires. The article mentioned that the man, Abdul Salman, was the father of six children — three of whom (Seja, Ali and Bara) were born with various forms of dwarfism.
The story evoked a deep emotion inside Brother Hayes. He and Sister Hayes are the parents of six children. Their youngest, 11-year-old Corina, has dwarfism.

Russell Hayes
Russell Hayes with Abdul Salman family.



Brother Hayes made arrangements to visit the family in Baghdad and learn more about their circumstances. He found a family dealing with a host of difficulties. The three Salman children with dwarfism (two girls and a boy) — ages 13, 9 and 8 — were all in need of surgeries to remain healthy, mobile and reasonably independent. Mr. Salman himself was partially paralyzed from a gunshot wound he suffered fighting years earlier in the Iraq-Iran War.
The American soldier's heart immediately went out to the family, but he realized there was not much he could do to help. The family had sought the help of local doctors, but little assistance could be found.
Then a series of frightening events changed the course for the Salman family. Mr. Salman had been working as a laborer with a few of his relatives inside the U.S. military "Green Zone" outside Baghdad. One day he was approached by a group of Iraqi insurgents demanding that Mr. Salman and his relatives help them kill Americans. They refused and trouble began.
Two of Mr. Salman's relatives were abducted a short time later. One would later die from the beatings he endured at the hands of his captors. The Salmans found themselves in grave danger. Because Mr. Salman was being targeted for his association with the U.S. government, the family was eligible to apply for a special refugee visa that would allow them to move to the United States.
Brother Hayes took the lead role in working to secure the visa. He was granted permission to spend extra time working on the request by a high-ranking officer based in Baghdad. That man, a full colonel, was also the father of a child with dwarfism.

Russell Hayes
Salman family children.



Last June, the Salman family left Iraq and moved to the United States. Brother Hayes no longer asks himself why he unexpectedly found himself in uniform decades after the Vietnam War. "This is Heavenly Father making miracles," he said.
Abdul and Warda Salman and their children are practicing Muslims. Their beliefs are dramatically different from those of their new American friends. "But Mr. Salman himself sometimes says to me 'mua'geza, mua'geza,' — which is Arabic for 'a miracle.' "

Russell Hayes
Matt Roloff of the television program "Little People, Big World" visits the Salman family in their Iraqi home prior to the family immigrating to Idaho.



The Salmans are now renting a home next to the Hayes home in Kuna, Idaho. Although the family members no longer fear for their lives, they still face many challenges. Leaving Iraq and settling in English-speaking western Idaho has been a huge culture shock. There are not many Iraqis or Muslims in Kuna. There have been a few misunderstandings along the way.
"But despite that, we all love each other," said Brother Hayes.
The local Church members have also done much to help, donating furniture and cooking and kitchen supplies to help the Salmans settle into their new home.

Russell Hayes
Russell Hayes, the Abdul Salman family, and Matt Roloff.



The producers of the popular television program "Little People, Big World" have also provided valuable assistance to the Salman family.
The children who have dwarfism are still in need of costly surgeries. Mr. Salman, meanwhile, is hoping to soon enroll in a barber college. "We're doing all that we can to help the family become self-sufficient," said Brother Hayes, who also directs the International Dwarf Advocacy Association.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:58 PM   #16
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I like seeing articles like that ^^^ and having regular updates. I hope LPBW does show them occasionally..

I do wonder however if the kids went to see Matt and my during Pumpkin Season.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:36 PM   #17
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I like seeing articles like that ^^^ and having regular updates. I hope LPBW does show them occasionally..

I do wonder however if the kids went to see Matt and my during Pumpkin Season.
With the right advertising, I think that could do wonders for LPBW ratings.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:28 PM   #18
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What an amazing story. Hopefully they will be able to get all the surgeries they need. And now the Dad too.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:24 PM   #19
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Got this email from Tammy about the kids today:
Quote:
Dear Colin,
>
> I wish to thank you for visiting our website dwarfchildren.org. God truly has worked many miracles in getting the Salman family to the US.
>
> Chief Hayes is working on the newsletter and I will pass to you once it has been finalized. I love to write and was touched by the sincerity in the comment you left on his webpage. If you have a moment I will share the latest in the Salman family with you.
>
> In September the Chief enrolled both Baraa and Ali in public school. Baraa recently had her 9th birthday and I flew to Idaho to share in her "happy birthday". I promished her over a year ago I would and for that day to finally arrive it was a true blessing. I also was able to go to their school and see how they have integrated in our school system. I was touched by how the other children watched over them, especially Baraa - who is more fragile than Ali.
>
> Saja's surgery is scheduled early January 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Please keep her in your prayers. She told me the other day "mom, maybe I will be able to walk again".
>
> Chief Hayes asked, if possible, to please share his website to as many people as you can. He is currently working on trying to purchase a specialized wheelchair for Saja and all donations are deeply appreciated.
>
> On behalf of the Salman family we would like to wish you and yours a very happy holiday.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Tammy
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:42 PM   #20
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Wonderful letter!
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