Anthony Slivka in 2011

Anthony Slivka has pressed the case for his Afghan interpreter in the nation's capitol and before national media.

Effort to "Leave No One Behind" puts BW student veteran in national spotlight

November 10, 2016

Anthony Slivka in 2011One Baldwin Wallace student and Marine Veteran, Andy Slivka, of Brook Park, is waging a three-year battle to live up to a personal promise and the military motto, “Leave No One Behind.” His journey has won the support of strangers online, taken him to the nation's capitol and caught the attention of national media.

Since returning from his deployment to Afghanistan, Slivka has been on a mission help Zia, the Afghan interpreter who served his platoon, to gain Special Immigrant Visas to bring his family to the U.S. Slivka says that Zia and his family were forced into hiding in the wake of threats from the Taliban following his service as interpreter to several U.S. Army and Marine battalions.

Anthony Slivka's Afghan interpreter, ZiaLife on the Line

“Zia put his life on the line for us in Afghanistan while serving with U.S. forces, and continues to do so after we have left the area where he is still in danger,” Slivka says, explaining his dogged commitment to the Afghan man he also saw as a father-figure during his time in Afghanistan. “When I left Zia for the last time when I came home, and he stayed behind to continue his service to our country, I hugged him and told him, ‘I’ll bring you back, I promise.’ I’m not one to break promises.”

Taking the case to Washington 

Slivka, who is majoring in computer network security at BW, has pressed politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, taken his case to the media, enlisted other Marines to record an online video, opened a crowdfunding campaign to support Zia’s future resettlement here, and urged Congress to reauthorize and expand a visa program for Afghans like Zia. Slivka told FOX News that the failure to allocate new visas would leave interpreters like Zia vulnerable to "the very enemies they helped us fight."

Slivka and the efforts of No One Left Behind, a group of Veterans pressing for the reauthorization and expansion of the visa program for Afghan and Iraqi interpreters, also caught the attention of National Geographic’s EXPLORER, the longest-running documentary series in cable television history. A crew from EXPLORER recently visited BW to interview Slivka and follow him on campus. Their in depth story on Slivka and Zia’s journey will air on the series early next year.