In the mid 90’s I was in graduate school for sociology and working at a market research firm. I’d initially been working part time in the phone room, but was moved into the Analysis and Consulting department when one of the professionals there noticed I was reading a book on multiple regression (a statistical technique).
My supervisor in A & C knew that I was interested in web development and mentioned that Nermin Elmi, someone he knew through his place of worship (the Islamic Center), needed help getting a web page going. Nermin was trying to raise money to help her cousin come to the United States to get treatment for leukemia.
In the course of working on the web page, I met her family–her husband, daughter and Erdin, her son. I didn’t really get to know him, but he seemed like a decent guy. He was going to high school at the time.
Nermin Elmi succeeded in bringing Elmira (her cousin) to the US for treatment–though complications from the chemotherapy ultimately killed her.
Nonetheless, I’ve still kept in touch with the family on and off. It’s been a little while though and that’s why it was a bit of a shock to read the following article in the paper:
The 25 year old man is Erdin.
It’s a sad and strange thing. I remember hearing that when Nermin and her husband immigrated from Romania (at that time a communist state), the state would not allow Erdin to go with them. Ultimately, bringing Erdin here would involve Grand Rapids’ congressional representative (Rep. Paul Henry?) as well as (I think) the State department.
I’m sure that this event will prompt me to reconnect with the family again soon, but a card or phone call seems such a small thing in the face of something like this.