LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Biden administration is notifying states how many people from the first group of nearly 37,000 Afghan refugees are slated to resettle in each state after more than 120,000 people were evacuated from the country since July.
Approximately 150 Afghans will call Nevada home.
FOX5 has been following the journey of an Afghan combat interpreter turned local rideshare driver, has been identified as “HK” due to ties to people in danger in Afghanistan, as he desperately tried to find a way to get his wife out of the country.
As of Monday, his wife and five others from her evacuation group are in Las Vegas. With the danger behind them, the couple celebrated with a long embrace at McCarran International Airport.
“We were able to save our team of six which included three female, two male and a baby … they are all related to Special Operations,” HK shared.
HK assembled a team in Las Vegas of former Special Operations interpreters and active military and vets that used connections to get the group out of the country and on a plane to Kuwait just a day before the deadly attack on the Kabul airport. They ended up at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin where members of the new nonprofit formed by HK flew to pick them up.
“They were able to process them out and get them outside the base … About three hours before they were touching down here in Vegas, I got the news that I lost my father-in-law, my wife’s father,” HK said.
His father-in-law, still in Afghanistan, died of a heart attack.
While she grieves, HK continues helping others.
His newly formed nonprofit, Freedom Support Alliance (FSA) with a physical office in Las Vegas, is helping Afghan refugees with resettlement. They expect potentially thousands who escaped the war-torn country to come through their door.
“They just as American as I am,” Robert Pagel said, a veteran with Army Special Forces who served tours in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2014. Now he’s part of FSA continuing fight with the local humanitarian mission.
“These people that are coming into the US, these are people that bled right next to me shoulder-to-shoulder. I watched a friend of mine die while I carried him on a helicopter to get him out and this was an Afghan, this was not an American that died for us,” Pagel said.
Zack, who is among the group of new Las Vegans, was an interpreter with the same unit as Pagel and HK. He escaped with his pregnant wife and child.
“I feel really happy that now we are safe living here,” Zack said, sporting a new VGK hat. Zack will be employed at the nonprofit’s new office helping others who escaped Afghanistan resettle in Las Vegas.
“I really appreciate it. I know they work very hard ... They did their best until we got here, I am very thankful. I’ll never forget this,” Zach said.
The nonprofit is trying to find housing and jobs and teach the new residents about American culture and finances.
The group's website, freedomsupportalliance.org, is now up and running and the nonprofit is looking for any kind of help they can get.