Only when we face adversity are we challenged. We can either give into despair and quit, or fight to bring about change. This inspiring story of one gentleman’s life’s obstacles can serve as a lesson to us all about not giving up when everything appears to be against you.
Guor Maker has endured many hardships in his 33 years. At just 8-years-old, he lost eight of his nine siblings in the Sudanese Civil War that ravaged South Sudan nearly twenty years ago. Maker was captured and enslaved twice; once by herdsmen, then by Sudanese soldiers. He managed to escape both times.
In 2001, Maker, along with his uncle’s family was granted permission to enter the United States. They made their home in Concord, New Hampshire. Maker learned English by watching cartoons. He received a running scholarship to Iowa State University.
“I wanted to change my life, help my parents back in South Sudan, and give my future children a better childhood than the one I had,” Maker said in a statement released by the Air Force. “And the only way to do that was through education and determination.”
Maker always dreamed of qualifying for the Olympics. His wish came true; twice. The first time was the year after he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. In his first time running in the Olympics, Maker didn’t have a country. He wasn’t yet a US citizen; and though South Sudan was independent, it didn’t participate in the games.
His first experience participating in the Olympics gave Maker the idea to get his former homeland involved. In 2016, Maker was one of three athletes representing the African nation.
Maker is now a dental assistant in training. He is now working to serve his new country as a 1st class airman in the Air Force. He intends to join the Air Force World Class Athlete Program which gives elite athletes the opportunity to train and compete in national events. It also allows athletes to prepare for the Olympics. Maker wants to qualify for the 2020 Olympic games where he’ll represent the United States.
What an incredible story. Congratulations, Airman 1st Class Guor Maker!
“All of the things I’ve accomplished have derived from the opportunities the U.S. has afforded me,” said Maker. “When I first came to America, I didn’t have hardly anything, but with the support and opportunity this country has given me, I’ve been able to completely change my life.”