Marine Corps Col. Randy Hoffman and his cousin, Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman, share more than a last name and a legacy of service. The pair were also fortunate enough to work alongside a man the colonel called “one of the best men” he has ever served with.
Sarasota Sheriff’s Deputy Mubarak, now a U.S. citizen, saved Colonel Hoffman’s life at least 10 times while serving as an Afghan interpreter. Mubarak then immigrated to the United States and, thanks to the cousins’ family connection, joined Florida law enforcement.
Fox News withholds Mubarak’s first name to protect his family still living in Afghanistan.
Colonel Hoffman first met Mubarak in Afghanistan as a 23-year-old interpreter.
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“He had very good English skills which he had learned before I arrived, and Deputy Mubarak basically came first as an interpreter. But later we learned that he was much more valuable. as an operations officer, ”said Col. Hoffman. , who flew eight missions to Afghanistan and was part of one of the first special operations teams to visit the country after 9/11.
Mubarak, who was born in northern Afghanistan, told Fox News: “My father encouraged me and my other brother to reach out to coalition forces, especially Americans in our province. , and to give them… help to become a linguist. “
Colonel Hoffman said there were at least 10 occasions when “Mubarak’s decisions not only saved my life, but also saved the lives of all other Afghan special forces and other US military special forces.” .
“When I say he saved my life, I mean he made decisions on a daily basis and certainly on specific occasions that kept me and other special operators from going. in an area where we would have been killed, “he continued.
Mubarak told Fox News that the US military is treating him “just like the rest of the team.”
“There was no room for hesitation,” Mubarak said. “There was no room for, you know, thinking whether I should help him or not, you know. If it was me, I would expect the same from the rest of the team.”
Mubarak immigrated to the United States in 2009 on a special immigrant visa after his service in the United States military. He worked nights and went to school.
“I was able to get my associate’s degree, and then I was able to get my undergraduate degree and then I got my masters,” he told Fox News.
Mubarak decided he wanted to continue his career in the service. This time his path will take him to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Hoffman said his cousin told Mubarak, “Well, you want to work for one of the best agencies in Florida and which just happens to be run by my cousin Kurt Hoffman?”
Mubarak “sent me an email. I sent him some information,” Sheriff Hoffman told Fox News. “He consulted other agencies and luckily he chose us.
“He went down, got into the academy, graduated number one in his class, also won the fitness award,” Sheriff Hoffman continued. He “missed out on the best shot in a round, so he almost pulled off the winning trifecta, in the academy.”
For Mubarak, the decision to choose a career in law enforcement was an easy one.
“Being a member of the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office was a great opportunity for me,” Mubarak said. “The happiest day for me is when I get a call, I go out, I talk to the family and I am able to solve their problem.”
As Mubarak’s career in law enforcement took off, the security situation in his home country rapidly deteriorated with the withdrawal of US troops.
The Afghan native knew his family could face retaliation from the Taliban for his service in the coalition forces, so he again teamed up with Col. Hoffman to help his family escape.
Colonel Hoffman, who was already working with thousands of other veterans to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies trapped in Afghanistan, helped 33 of Mubarak’s family escape to the United States. on the ground at Kabul airport, and Florida Senator Rick Scott.
Now that most of Mubarak’s family are in the United States, Sheriff Hoffman has launched a GoFundMe page to help them relocate.
“There are going to be a lot of difficulties with his family coming,” he said. “We have 33 family members, four of whom speak English. The rest don’t.”
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Mubarak hopes his family will join him in Florida. Mubarak told Fox News he would “explain America” to them and the “opportunities we have in this country.”
“It is up to each individual to recognize these opportunities and work for those opportunities, to set goals and achieve their goals,” Mubarak said.
“The future is bright for them as it was and is still bright for me and we have a lot of opportunities here,” he continued. “And it’s up to us, as individuals, to seek out and work on those opportunities.”