He Was A Former Slave Who Became An Olympian, Now He’s Joined The Air Force To Pay America Back

There’s no shortage of athletes with inspiring life stories, but none of them measure up to Guor Maker’s.

The two-time Olympian had to fight to survive all his life, and his incredible true story reminds us that nothing comes without hard work.

But Maker inspires us for another reason: today he’s serving our country to say “thank you” for the opportunities it gave him.

Maker (who also goes by Guor Marial) grew up in Sudan (now North and South Sudan) during one of the country’s heated civil wars.

The Olympian told Air Force Times that war “was all I knew growing up, nothing else.” But that just taught him to fight to survive, and to never give up.

“I’ve seen people die in front of me,” he explained, “but I knew no matter what, I had to make it.”

Maker and his parents in 2013.UNHCR

28 of Maker’s family members, including eight of his siblings, were killed in the fighting.

To protect their son the only way they could, Maker’s parents told their eight-year-old son to travel on foot to his uncle’s home in the city of Khartoum.

The journey would take three years, and Maker was kidnapped and enslaved twice along the way.

Once, he was taken by Sudanese soldiers. Then, by herdsmen. Both times, Maker was used for slave labor before he managed to escape.

“I would wash dishes or do anything else needed to get by,” he remembered. “I slept in a small cell and rarely got to eat…but not always”

Even when Maker arrived at his uncle’s home, his troubles weren’t over.

The young boy had his jaw smashed by a soldier’s rifle during a nighttime attack, and it had to be wired shut for months.

That was the last straw Maker and his uncle’s family, and they fled to Egypt as refugees.

After two years, the group was finally allowed to move to America.

While the most harrowing part of Maker’s story was over, the next chapter of his incredible life was just beginning.

Oprah Left Everyone In Tears After Her Golden Globes Speech

The 2018 Golden Globes Awards was one for the books in many ways.

Golden moments from the night included stars joining the Time’s Up movement by wearing all black, Debra Messing calling out E! for underpaying one of their former female anchors, Catt Sadler, and This Is Us star Sterling Knight becoming the first African American man to win best actor in a drama.

Variety

However, Brown wasn’t the only person to make history during the ceremony. Media mogul and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey also broke a record by being the first black woman to be honored with the Cecile B. DeMille award.

The lifetime achievement award is handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to individuals who have had a significant impact on the entertainment industry, and frankly, we’re surprised Oprah wasn’t chosen sooner.

Harper’s Bazaar

Upon accepting the award, Oprah delivered a powerful and inspirational speech that shone a light on women’s issues, abuse, and the importance of the press. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room by the time her speech ended.

Meet The 81-Year-Old Marathon Runner Who Inspired A City

This year’s Honolulu Marathon started early in the morning, so when Richard Kiyabu saw an elderly woman in jogging clothes walking down the road at four in the afternoon, he was concerned.

Kiyabu pulled over to offer the Japanese woman a ride, but got a surprising answer.

“I was thinking, maybe they need a ride, or some assistance. But she’s like, ‘No, I’m going to finish this,’” he told local news station KHON 2.

Ayako Hayashi.KHON 2

The woman Kiyabu had come across was Ayako Hayashi, and while it  might have looked like she was struggling, Ayako is clearly in better shape than most of us. The road racer from Saitama Prefecture, Japan only started jogging in her 60s, but this year was already her 17th marathon.

The 81-year-old reveals that she gets up every morning a 4 a.m. to jog a few miles, and that determination helped her finish what proved to be a very tough race.

Another runner, Michael Shiroma, turned back mid-race to run alongside Ayako and help her finish the full 26-mile course.

Shiroma and other racers help Ayako finish the race.KHON 2

“People would come by and ask, ‘Is she okay? Is she going to finish?’ She always said, ‘I’m good. I’m going to keep going,’” he says. Shiroma wound up being just one of the many people who joined Ayako during the last leg of her race.

And while she finished dead last out of more than 32,000 runners, Ayako’s incredible finish guarantees Honolulu won’t forget her.

Man Who Survived 3 Terrorist Attacks Shares What Kept His Spirit Strong

Earlier this summer, we shared the surprising story of Julia Monaco with you. The Australian tourist found herself nearby during three terrorist attacks in less than three months while touring Europe.

Monaco survived the attacks in Barcelona, Paris and London.Yahoo AU

While Monaco was unscathed but obviously shaken by her experiences, it seems there was someone with even worse luck than her. Between 2013 and 2016, Mason Wells was either near or directly involved in three terrorist attacks. The most recent one, last year’s airport bombing in Brussels, almost took the young man’s life.

Wells’ mother finished the Boston Marathon just before the bomb exploded.Mason Wells / Facebook

Wells’ first brush with danger came at age 16, when he traveled from Utah to Boston with his family to watch his mother compete in the Boston Marathon. Of course, this was the 2013 race which was targeted by terrorists. Luckily, Wells’ mother finished the race before the bomb exploded near the finish line.

But Wells, a devout Mormon, says the experience made him ask big questions about God, and why he would allow such bad things to happen.

Emergency workers treat victims of the Bataclan theater shooting.

Those questions were on his mind again when he traveled to France as a missionary. Wells was in the country during the 2015 terror attack that killed more than 130 people in Paris. While he was far away from the action during this second attack, Wells wasn’t so lucky the next time.

11 Inspirational Quotes From Gandhi That Will Bring You Inner Peace

He inspired millions of people with his peaceful protests. His dedication to Indian independence through nonviolent civil disobedience inspired independence movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Today, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is known as Mahatma, or “high-souled.”

His inspiring words of wisdom have helped so many people from all walks of life. Which one of his quotes speaks to you?