May is Military Appreciation Month

May is national Military Appreciation Month, an opportunity for veterans, active duty service members, and the American public to celebrate military service and honor the memory of all those who gave their lives for this country.

This month, Vets for American Ideals is partnering with our good friends at We Are the Mighty to tell the stories of some of the many veterans and active duty military personnel who inspire us every day. We’re thankful for their service, and that they are continuing to serve and stand up for American values and ideals.



Adam Babiker left his war-torn town of Darfur in western Sudan in 2001 and went to Egypt where he was granted refugee status. In 2006 he was resettled as a refugee into the United States. Three years later he enlisted in the U.S. Army, participating in Operation New Dawn where he helped Iraqi reconstruction efforts to rebuild the country. After the Army, Adam relocated to Houston, TX and volunteered with Interfaith Ministries to help new refugees through mentoring and other resettlement services. In late 2015, Adam deployed to the Middle East as a contracting linguist with Department of Defense. Upon his return, he assumed his new job as Recruiting Specialist for the Worldwide Language Resources. Adam is a co-founder of the Darfurian Association of Greater Houston as well as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.



Amy McGrath is a native of Kentucky and will be a U.S. Marine Corps veteran as of June 1, 2017, when she retires after twenty years of service. Amy was the first female Marine to fly in an F/A-18 fighter jet in combat. A graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, she served three combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and she has flown all around the world. She has a Masters in Global Security from Johns Hopkins University, is a former Congressional Fellow, senior instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, and a Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame inductee. She’s currently considering running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 in Kentucky.



Derek Clayor is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who deployed twice to Iraq. After his military service, Derek went to college, beginning at community college, then transferring onto UC Berkeley. Currently, he is teaching eighth-grade science in San Diego. Derek has also been a volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, served as an intern with Human Rights First and is a leader with Veterans for American Ideals.



Emir Hadzic is a U.S. Marine veteran who recently retired after 20 years of service. He came to the United States in 1995 as a Bosnian Muslim refugee, and enlisted in the Marines in 1996. He is currently in training at the St. Louis Police Academy. Emir has been an outspoken advocate for refugees, and against anti-Muslim bigotry. He spoke at the White House in 2016, and has been recognized on the floor of the U.S. Senate as an example of the many extraordinary people who are granted refuge in the United States and go on to make our country better.



Sean Horgan was born in Ireland and came to the United States with his parents as a child. He enlisted in the Marines shortly after becoming a U.S. resident. Sean has served everywhere from the Arctic Circle to a tour in Fallujah, Iraq, where he led a rifle platoon of 44 Marines. He is now is the Head of Product for Firecracker, which helps medical students prepare for their classes, rotations, and board exams. Sean also led Team Rubicon’s development in New England, serving as the first Regional Administrator where he grew an all-volunteer team to over 1000 members, and has helped lead the creation of the Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative, which unites the efforts of veteran service organizations. Sean has been an advocate for refugees and organized a group of veterans to spend a day volunteering with a local refugee resettlement agency in Lowell, MA.

We’re proud to work alongside veterans who are so committed to continuing their service to our nation, and to ensuring that the United States continues to live up to its own ideals. Stay tuned for more stories, and tell us: Who are the veterans in your life that inspire you?