Young Iraqi Girl Receives Heart Surgery because of Alabama Marines

Three year old Amina traveled from Iraq to the U.S. for heart surgery thanks to several Alabama Marines.
Three year old Amina traveled from Iraq to the U.S. for heart surgery thanks to several Alabama Marines.
Amina and several family members.
Amina and several family members.

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- Brianne Staub will never forget when she first heard the story.

It was around Christmas. Husband Travis, a Marine reservist from the Lima company in Montgomery, told her the remarkable tale of what a fellow marine from the same outfit had just done.

"They were bringing the girl back to the states," Brianne says.

That little girl is Amina, just 3-years old and born with a major heart defect.

Doctor: "Her heart is clearly on the wrong side of her chest."

Amina is in Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, Tennesse waiting for heart surgery; and the man who found it in his heart to help Amina is Major Kevin Jarrard, also a member of the Lima battalion.

Jarrard says, "I think essentially it seemed like the right thing to do. We were in a position to potentially help this girl."

Jarrad and company found Amina with her parents while on patrol near Haditha, Iraq.

In a race against time, he quickly made arrangements to raise money on the web, and he had Amina and her mom flown to the states.

It was all the more reason why Travis Staub played a huge role in Amina's security.

"He was traveling with her for 10 days and they took her back and forth between cities, taking her to the border to meet with another group of guys," says Brianne.

"None of the Iraqis were hostile toward them. They just had to be there just in case."

Before, Brianne wasn't sure what to make of the Iraq people in general.

Now Amina's journey has changed her perception saying, "It definitely opens your eyes  to see the Iraqis are not what we think. They are willing for us to help them. It's changed my mind."

As for Amina, there is a possibility she may not survive, a sobering thought for the Lima battalion.

Reporter: Are they prepared for that?

Brianne: "They would be heartbroken but they know that's the risk they took."

While Amina fights for her life, Jarrard and friends fight the terrorists, both looking for victory.

WSFA 12 News found out late Wednesday that Amina  will have her surgery on February 13th.

Rght now, she is in stable condition and fighting a bad cold.

Major Jarrard was able to raise $30,000t to fly her to the U.S. and eventually back to her home.

Vanderbilt doctors will perform this operation free of charge.