MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO has an update to a story that has been years in the making.

Philip first came to America with the help of some Minnesota soldiers. He was a translator in Iraq when he met Minnesota soldier Paul Braun. He promised to help get Philip to the United States, and he did in 2013. Philip’s family followed him to Minnesota in 2016.

It’s been a long, long wait, but the Saint Paul RiverCentre Naturalization ceremony is where the journey ends. Philip talked to WCCO on the day of the big event.

“Honest to God, every day that I wake up I feel I am still dreaming,” Phillip said.

Barb Kennan, Phillip’s close friend, was there to support him.

“He works three jobs, he takes care of his family, he’s at all of his girls’ events. He bought a house recently. He is so amazing, and I am so proud of him for making all his dreams come true,” Barb said.

(credit: CBS)

Her husband helped make those dreams come true. While serving in Iraq in 2009, Philip helped save Paul. So Paul and other Minnesota soldiers helped Philip and his family get to the U.S.

“Thank God I end up with great people [who] support me since day one,” he said.

Paul is on a work trip, so his parents and Barb came in his place.

“Philip is really everything we think about when we think of somebody becoming an American. He came here with nearly nothing. He has a job, he loves this place,” she said.

READ MORE: Iraqi Interpreter Settles In To New Life In Minnesota

And Phillip does indeed love his adopted home.

“I’m so grateful to have this kind of life, healthy, safety, my family with me,” he said.

On September 4, 2019, a survivor of a brutally war-torn country finally found peace — and soon his wife and kids will have citizenship, too.

Philip, who had taken the nickname to protect his family when they were still in Iraq, will be celebrating his status in a very American way. The soldiers will be throwing him a BBQ on Sunday.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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