Former Child Soldier Escapes Slavery to Become Olympian and USAF Airman

March 06, 2018

Airman 1st Class Gour Maker has an incredible life story filled with overcoming obstacles and unimaginable hardships.


Maker was born in Sudan during the terrible Sudanese Civil War. 28 of his family members were killed, including eight of his nine siblings. At only eight years old, Maker escaped on foot to South Sudan to live with his uncle.




“The country I came from was torn apart by war. It was all I knew growing up, nothing else,” said Maker. “I’ve seen people die in front of me, but I knew no matter what, I had to make it.”



Alone and on foot, Maker was captured and enslaved twice during his journey south: once by Sudanese soldiers, and once by herdsmen.


“When I was captured, I was forced to be a slave laborer,” said Maker. “I would wash dishes or do anything else needed to get by. I slept in a small cell and rarely got to eat.”


Luckily, Maker was able to escape from both his captors on his three-year trek to find his uncle. Unfortunately, once reunited with his uncle, a soldier broke into his uncle’s home and beat Maker unconscious with a rifle, including breaking his jaw.


“My mouth was shut for two months and I could only consume liquids because my jaw was broken. We fled to Egypt after that, and the United Nations treated my injuries.”


Maker then began the two-year process of filling out paperwork for US Citizenship and Immigration Services in Egypt to get permission to enter the United States.


“I was very excited to come to the US. Looking back at everything my family and I endured, it is a miracle that we made it out of there,” said Maker.


Maker arrived in the US in 2001 and settled in Concord, New Hampshire. He learned English by watching cartoons and hanging out with his new friends. He excelled at track and field and earned a scholarship to compete for Iowa State University.



Maker graduated with a degree in Chemistry and qualified to compete in the 2012 Olympics. He then decided to serve the country that had given him so much by joining the United States Air Force.


Maker stood out immediately to the leadership of the training squadron. “I saw the instructors putting their attention on one trainee in particular,” said Major John Lippolis, director of operations for the 324th Training Squadron.





“I was just absolutely floored when I talked to him about what he went through to get to where he is today,” said Lippolis. “Not only did he just survive, he wanted to better himself and he has accomplished so much.”


“He has an amazing story,” Lippolis continued. “The drive he has displayed to succeed like that in the face of such adversity is truly inspiring.”


“Joining the greatest Air Force in the world has been an absolute miracle,” said Maker. “I can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds for me.”





In other news, an Army vet saved a homeless and deaf puppy from euthanization at the last minute and trained the dog to become the first deaf K-9 in the state of Washington! Read the full story in the next article below!

Next: ‘Unadoptable’ Deaf, Homeless Puppy Was Scheduled to Be Euthanized–Look Where He Is TodayMar 05, 2018