MEXIA, Texas – An Army veteran is helping Afghan interpreters who aided the United States during their time in the Middle East safely leave the country.
“But it’s just exhausting, and a happy, emotional roller coaster. Because, like he said, it is two steps forward, five steps behind,” Holly Maples said, wife of Retired Army Staff Sergeant David Maples.
Staff Sergeant Maples spent many years in the Middle East, between Afghanistan and Iraq, and his wife Holly spent time in the Air Force.
Now retired, they saw what was happening in Afghanistan and heard from his interpreters he had worked with that they needed help.
“He reached back out, saying, ‘Hey, Taliban has taken over Kabul. We’re not able to get through,” David said. “So I started walking him through how to get through the Taliban, and try to get up to the gate. I mean, it took us almost three weeks to get him up to the gate. It took about 20 to 30 tries for him to get up there.”
So he started calling contacts to help get them to safety. This was not easy with the chaos that was ensuing in the country and the time change in America.
David said Holly was his rock through this whole process.
“I did not sleep for over five days,” he said. “I was up. I mean, I’d lay down for about ten, fifteen minutes, and then I was up again on the phone. Just because when we got one step, it seemed like we got two steps behind every step we took. Mindset in general was mission focused.”
David explained that his interpreters became his family, and he explained that they had his back while he was over there, so now he has theirs.
He ended by explaining that although many are angry and upset about the situation, to not lose faith in those doing what they can.
“There’s probably about ten of us total that were working together to get this done,” he said. “We’re still working together. I mean, we still got people over there that we’re trying to get out, including Americans. So just keep the faith and keep pushing on.”
The Maples and those working with them have set up GoFundMe pages for the families to begin their new lives in the United States. For information or to donate, you can click here.