‘Lost Boy of Sudan’ Joins Atlanta Police Force
Jacob Mach, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” has completed an incredible journey that encapsulates what refeugees and immigrants are capable of accomplishing in the United States. He has gone from being a refugee in a war-torn country to being an office of the law as part of the Atlanta Police Department.
Mach’s story is like many of the Lost Boys of Sudan, a collection of 20,000 boys and young men that fled their home country of Sudan while it was engulfed in a civil war. They wandered throughout Africa, experiencing hunger, disease, and the threat of war.
Those who survived years of hunger and civil war, including Mach, eventually attained refugee status in other parts of the world, including thousands who came to the U.S.
Since arriving in the Atlanta area in 2001 at the age of 21, Mach has been the embodiment of a refugee in the U.S. He worked many low-paying jobs, and eventually saved enough to support himself and bring his wife to the U.S. with him.
“America is a great country; if you work hard you will succeed,” Mach says, reflecting on his long journey. “It comes with applying yourself. You have to start somewhere. Work two jobs. Work three jobs. You’ve got to grab it.”
Mach was then able to earn his college degree, become a U.S. citizen, and attend the police academy. He and his wife now have a son, who was in attendance earlier this week, as Mach graduated from the police academy and enjoyed his first day as a member of the Atlanta Police Department.
He’s confident that his background and calm demeanor will help him relate to the people of Atlanta as an officer of the law.
“I relate to people whether they are rich or poor, maybe because of my background,” he said. “You try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Keep an open mind, you assimilate other people’s points of view, whether you agree with them or not.” He adds that the key is to treat people “with respect and dignity.”
Mach says as a police officer he wants to “protect and reduce crime.” He also wants to help other immigrants, something he’s already done by being a shining example of what they can accomplish in America by working hard.
“I’ve been there,” he says. “I know how it feels to be are a refugee and come to a new country and learn a new country and try to blend in.”