Help a Hero (Navid "G" Garshasb)

Help a Hero

For: Navid "G" Garshasb
Organizer: John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
Help a Hero (Navid "G" Garshasb)
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Update: On Joani’s behalf, Navid went into a deep sleep Wednesday night, 4 Sep,  and passed into a peaceful repose into the Lord’s care soon after. She and the boys are grateful for the time they had with Navid, and grateful for the gracious love and support they’ve received from all you wonderful, generous people. They feel blessed beyond words. Joani is awestruck at how many people are touched by their story and finds strength in the caring responses posted

No good deed goes unpunished. No one knows this better than the Garshasb family. After G's heroics that fateful night in November 2001, in which he saved lives after he sustained serious injuries, the hits have continued to come. Since then, he has battled brain cancer, strokes, and a blood disease. All of which have resulted in his current terminal condition. He is currently in hospice and has been given just a couple of weeks more to live. His wife, Joani, and sons, Shahine and Andy have been his incredible support system throughout it all. Unfortunately, during a recent hospitlization for a stroke, a miss-communication created a lapse in his insurance and it has yet to be resolved. Without insurance, the family will shoulder a tremendous amount of costs. Please consider donating any amount to this worthy cause. I've provided a link to a story about G's heroic act:


by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
Here's the latest I received from Joani this afternoon: There will be two ceremonies on 23 Sep 13 (Mon). The first will occur at the Hurlburt Field Chapel, with full military honors, at 1400. The next event will be a Celebration of Life at Navarre United Methodist Church at 1800, followed by a reception where people may share stories of Navid. Thank you for the continued prayers and support.

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb

On Joani’s behalf, Navid went into a deep sleep Wednesday night and passed into a peaceful repose into the Lord’s care soon after. She and the boys are grateful for the time they had with Navid, and grateful for the gracious love and support they’ve received from all you wonderful, generous people. They feel blessed beyond words. We are still working the details for Navid’s memorial/Celebration of Life. There will be two services, and all will be invited. Date, times, and locations will be posted once finalized. It cannot be stated enough, thank you, thank you, thank you. Joani is awestruck at how many people are touched by their story and finds strength in the caring responses posted. 

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
Another local story about the Garshasb family. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
First, on Joani's behalf, she would like to thank everyone for their wonderful support and pass on that she is truly grateful for this "gift of love".  Navid has stunned the doctors' as he's surpassed their projections and continues on in hospice with Joani, Shahine, and Andy by his side.

Just got word that another newspaper is going to run the Garshsasbs' story and maybe even a local TV channel! That said, the deadline has been extended and the goal updated as well to allow those who will see the story and want to, an opportuntiy to donate. Thank you for the continued prayers and positivity. 


by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
Also, a friend has opened the following twitter account for those interested in following via that medium: @HelpGarshasbFam #helpahero

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
For those that may no longer have access to the original news site. Thanks to the NWF Daily News for allowing us to post this amazing story:

Former airman faces final battle (GALLERY)


Published: Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 13:50 PM.

A strong man — who once towered over 6 feet tall and weighed 200 pounds — lies in

a hospice bed, smaller, weaker and approaching the last days of his life.

Navid Garshasb, a decorated war hero from Navarre, has fended off death and

adversity many times: from his emigration from Iran in the mid-1970s to fighting

battles overseas in the days and years after 9/11.

His longest battle has been with brain cancer. He was diagnosed in 2003 — in the

prime of his life and his career — and given several months to live.

Now, 10 years later at the age of 49, that battle appears to be coming to a close.

See photos of Garshasb. >>

The man — fluent in six languages and a hero to fellow and future airmen in his field

— can no longer speak. He is not expected to live more than a couple weeks.

“I don’t think he has one regret, though,” his wife Joani said as she stroked her

husband’s hand.

“I think we’ve had a great journey, it’s been a heck of a ride.”

A ‘quiet giant’

Garshasb arrived in the United States from Iran at a time when some were hostile

toward people from his country. In New York as a child, he faced regular beatings on

the playground and in the streets.

Despite that, he always wanted to serve his country, his wife said. He joined the Air

Force in his early 20s and never looked back.

He had grown into a tall, broad-shouldered man who could appear intimidating.

In speech and character, though, he was anything but. He was soft-spoken and

humble, a “quiet giant,” as his former chief Ozzie McMahon said.

He could make anyone feel at ease and was always ready with a joke.

All that, and a tireless dedication to his work made him an invaluable asset after

9/11, when he became a role model for those in his field.

Staff Sgt. Garshasb was assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron at Hurlburt Field

in 1999. Becoming an airborne linguist was a career shift for him, but he adapted

with ease.

“He said he wanted to use his language to do more, to be more,” Joani said. “He

wanted to help others.”

Garshasb’s job required him to be qualified to fly in various special forces aircraft

and to use his command of languages — including three native to Afghanistan.

“He had an infectious smile, never got mad, was so low key and so good at his job it

was remarkable,” McMahon said. “If I had 100 Navids back in the day, my life would

have been simple.”

This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only.

Copyright © 2013 — All

rights reserved. Restricted use only.

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Wayne Pinkerton, who was deployed with Garshasb, says he remembers his calm

coolness in the face of the unknown when they arrived in Afghanistan just days after

the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The men found themselves in the desert washing their clothes in mop buckets. They

had no idea what to expect and there was a lot of anxiety.

“Everything just rolled off his back,” Pinkerton said. “He just did what he had to do,

and that helped calm the rest of us, keep us even-keeled.”

Airborne linguists had once been considered “dead weight” aboard special

operations aircraft, but it quickly became clear how important their work had


On Nov. 2, 2001, Garshasb’s helicopter went down in the mountains in Afghanistan.

He broke part of his spine, a rib and his rotator cuff in the crash. A piece of the

propeller hit him in the head.

A group of Afghans approached the crash site and the team — unsure of their intent

— prepared to attack.

Despite his injuries, Garshasb dropped his weapon, approached the group and,

speaking in Pashto, encouraged them to leave.

His actions saved lives and helped avoid an international incident, according to the

citation for the Bronze Star he later was awarded.

He also received the Pitsenbarger Award, given for saving a life or preventing

serious injury. He was the first non-rescue airman to receive the award.

“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Pinkerton said. “It was just the kind of person Navid

was to offer up his ability to try to help people — even at great personal risk to


Overcoming adversity

It was in 2003 while deployed to Iraq that Garshasb discovered he had brain cancer.

He was rushed home and underwent surgery. Doctors gave him three months to live.

“I really thought, he’s so strong we’re going to overcome this. And we did,” Joani


But, the cancer changed the strong man of action. He had to medically retire from

the Air Force in 2005 and has been largely confined to a wheelchair since.

“That was hard for him, to be a spectator and not out there helping,” Joani said.

His sons, Shahine, now 24, and Andy, now 20, remember their father before the

cancer. One time a young girl at a bus stop fell through a manhole and broke her

shoulder. All the children ran home to get their parents, who came out to the street.

“They were all on their cell phones and here was Dad with a ladder and a rope,”

Shahine remembers.

He laid the ladder across the opening, tied the rope to it and fast-roped down the

hole to haul her out — joking that she’d get a day off school and wouldn’t have any


A stroke in 2011 caused some paralysis in Garshasb’s face and made it hard for him

to speak. The man who had commanded six languages struggled to be understood

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2 of 4 8/18/2013 1:43 PM

placing his order at the drive-through.

“To see him eaten up like he was with the brain tumors, it was tough,” McMahon


The illness didn’t stop him, though.

He volunteered to do the yard work at his church in Navarre. He’d climb from his

wheelchair to the riding lawn mower.

His family took him swimming and on the Jet Ski, where he squeezed in between his

two sons.

The 25th squadron invited Garshasb out whenever he could make it for events. They

tell his story to all the incoming support operatives; his photos and accomplishments

are on the wall as an example of the type of airmen they should aspire to be.

At the events he was able to attend for incoming operatives, the brave ones would

talk to Garshasb to see if their language skills were up to speed, and he would tell

them a joke in Farsi or another language to see if they could get it.

“He came to the squadron a couple times and talked to the young guys. That was

inspirational for them, to see a living legend,” said Senior Master Sgt. David Monaco,

the squadron’s current superintendent.

In 2012, though, Garshasb suffered a second stroke. He had been on a bone marrow

transplant list for the blood disease he’d developed, but was removed because he

was thought to be too weak.

“I saw a little bit of a spark leave him then,” Joani said. “He still wanted to get better

and to try to help in some way.”

Hoping for help

Last week, Joani, Andy and Shahine sat by the man they love as he lay in the hospice

bed in Pensacola.

A steady stream of visitors — friends, neighbors, current and former members of the

squadron — filed through the tiny room.

Joani welcomed each with a smile and open arms; she is grateful, not bitter or


The cancer has been a challenge for the family: a maze of doctor’s appointments, the

haze of chemotherapy, the dispensing of various pills, the caring and nursing. But

they have remained positive through it all.

Their future is uncertain, however.

For years they have been “winging it” financially, as Shahine says, but a lapse in their

father’s payments for his military life insurance policy during his second stroke

means they may not receive any benefits when he dies.

Garshasb was medically retired with just 19 years of service, one shy of the 20

needed for full retirement benefits. Joani has had to juggle part-time jobs with the

demands of caring for her husband. Their savings are nearly gone from medical bills,

some of which were charged to credit cards. The mortgage payment on their house

in Navarre looms.

In her spare time, Joani has been imploring her congressmen and the governor to

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help get her husband’s policy reinstated.

“I can’t save my husband, but I will do everything I can to save my family,” she said.

An aide in Congressman Jeff Miller's office is hopeful. Fellow airmen and friends last

weekend set up an account in Garshasb’s name to raise money for the family now

that he is no longer able, and many have already chipped in.

A fundraising effort has been set up for the family online. >>

Joani says that while some people may see their situation as dire, she feels blessed.

“Every time people say we had this hard time, I’d say we’ve had 26 wonderful years

of marriage and met the most wonderful people in our lives,” she said. “I may be

about to lose everything, but even so I feel very rich, rich with friends, support and


“So, come what may, I can say we have truly lived.”

Contact Daily News Staff Writer Lauren Sage Reinlie at 850-315-4443

or Follow her on Twitter


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4 of 4 8/18/2013 1:43 PM

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
Hope is a wonderful, amazing thing. Also wonderful and amazing is the generosity and kindness of all who have donated, prayed and wished well for Navid, Joani, Shahine and Andy. I am in tears at the goodness of people displayed here. As I stated in a previous update, I hope to surpass all goals and in that vein, have updated the current goal. Please continue to share and support this cause.

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
For those that wish to send cards, please send them to the following address:
Garshasb Family
PO Box 5425
Navarre, FL 32566

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
A fellow Airman wanted to provide more insight into Navid's career: Also, Navid's sons have posted a video diary here as well.

Sirs and Ma’ams, please indulge me.  I want to share some info on a friend, fellow Airman and hero to many of us.  MSgt (ret) Navid Garshasb, an airborne Farsi Linguist, has earned many accolade:
- Awarded Bronze Star w/Valor
- Earned Air Force Pitsenbarger Award for Heroism
- An Airey NCO Academy Flight is named after him
- His uniform is on display at HQ AFISRA
- His exploits are documented in the book “None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the War on Terrorism By Michael Hirsh” .  Yes, an airborne linguist made it to a book about pararescuemen.  That’s how much he is admired. 
Navid grew up in Iran and somehow convinced our great Air Force to give him a clearance and fly as an Airborne Linguist in Special Operations. I am honored to have flown with Navid.   I am honored to have served alongside a hero.
Was just notified that Navid’s battle with brain cancer is coming to a close soon.  Please keep his family in your thoughts.
Very Respectfully,

by John Jones, Shahine Garshasb
First, thank you all so much for the outpouring of support displayed. It is truly amazing! Joani and the boys are humbled. Now for an apology. I was not clear about the insurance lapse. It is life insurance which if not resolved, will create a huge financial strain on Joani, not the least of which will be at $159,000 mortgage. In light of this, I'm hoping to surpass all goals and have raised the goal to spur on further donations. Please know, this family is truly deserving. Thank you again.




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