West Virginia Drill Sergeant working to bring translator back to U.S. from Afghanistan


RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Paul Eldridge served a 14-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2011. Now, he is a Sergeant First Class and works as a drill sergeant for the U.S. Army. During his time in Afghanistan, he worked with two interpreters, one of whom he is now fighting to get in the United States after the Taliban took over the country in August.

“Just like a U.S. Soldier he has the very much right to be back here with us, he fought alongside coalition forces and now he is in a safe house to be evacuated and we are working on those efforts,” Eldridge said.

The interpreter lives with his wife and four children, all under the age of ten. They cannot leave the house, have little access to food, and money for rent, internet and other resources. Eldridge and his wife Laverne sent money through a third-party in Kabul to pay their bills and buy food for the time being while they work to get the family evacuated.

“There was a lot of nights I didn’t sleep knowing they were running out of food so when we were able to finally break through and get some money to them, I rested a little easier at night knowing that they have food and shelter,” Paul’s wife Lavern Eldridge said. “Because if he doesn’t pay that internet bill we lose all connection with him.”

The Eldridges’ regularly send videos and keep in touch with the interpreter over facetime. Paul Eldridge said he reads to the interpreter’s children through Youtube videos to help keep them entertained and form a closer bond with the family.

Eldridge said he considers the interpreter to be a member of his family and he will do what it takes to get him home.

“Family helps family,” Eldridge said. “That’s what we Americans do, we reach out, we touch lives. Let’s reach out, touch his life and get him home and that’s where we are at.”

Eldridge said they are in constant contact with West Virginia politicians Carol Miller and Joe Manchin to do what they can to help the family evacuate.

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