In 2009, Army Sergeant Paul Braun was serving near Basra, Iraq, with the 34th Military Police Company of the Minnesota National Guard when his company was assigned an interpreter they called “Philip.”

Paul and Philip grew close to each other during Paul’s deployment, and upon returning to the U.S., Paul sponsored Philip’s visa. In 2013, Philip immigrated to the U.S. and moved into Paul’s Minnesota home, but he was forced to leave his wife and four children behind in Iraq.

In September 2014, Philip and Paul sat down to talk about their friendship and their concerns about the future just three weeks before Philip was scheduled to return to Iraq in an attempt to bring his family back to the U.S.

Two years later — on October 13, 2016 — Philip’s wife, four children, and nephew arrived safely in their new home in Minnesota. Click here to listen to Philip’s follow-up StoryCorps interview with his nephew, Andy, which they recorded after Philip and his family were reunited.

Paul and Philip’s story is one in a series of real-life stories presented by StoryCorps and Upworthy reminding us #WhoWeAre—everyday Americans speaking to our best selves.

Click here to listen to Paul and Philip’s original StoryCorps interview.

StoryCorps and Upworthy, the mission-driven media company that reaches more than 200 million people each month, have joined forces to launch #WhoWeAre, a campaign to share the stories of everyday Americans, build compassion, and offer hope to a divided nation. #WhoWeAre calls on Americans to reach across perceived divides and listen to one another.
Click here to learn more about the campaign.