ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — An Elkhorn Marine Corps veteran is raising awareness for Afghan refugees by participating in a ruck, a military term for hiking with a loaded backpack. He plans on rucking from his home in Elkhorn to Hartington, Nebraska.
When Robert Koenig served in Afghanistan, he credits one interpreter, Deputy Mubarak, for saving his life. Mubarek is now a deputy in Sarasota, Florida.
Now that Mubarek’s extended family is resettled in the U.S., Koenig wants to help out with their housing situation.
"Everybody knows the housing market in the last year or so has been difficult everywhere but especially now in Florida,” said Koenig. “Getting affordable rental properties has been a problem so we are going to raise money to try to purchase a property for these five families, 33 people total."
By rucking for his dear friend and his family, Koenig hopes to shed a light on the word refugees.
"He's honestly, anybody who's met him, worked with him, knows he's one of the best people we've ever met,” said Koeng. “Intelligent, well-spoken, heart of gold, would lay down his life for you if that was what was required. I always had an obligation to him."
By rucking, Koenig is fulfilling that obligation.
"I told him when I left in 2004, the last time I saw him, I said, ‘If you ever make it to the United States and we ever link up, I'll do whatever I can to help you out."
Koenig is taking a bit of weight off of his friend's shoulders to carry some for him...
"Be the aid that he needs in a difficult time, it's a lot of people to be responsible for and to try to get them going, get a foundation under them as soon as possible," he said.
The next ruck happens tomorrow starting at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Fremont. If you want to learn more about the ruck for refugees, you can visit Koenig’s gofundme page.