Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Years Served: 20
Military Occupation: Infantry Unit Leader
Hometown: Wildwood, MO
Twitter Handle: @hadzic_emir
Tell us a little about you outside of the military:
- I am a naturalized US citizen. I arrived to the US in 1995 as a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- I am a passionate soccer fan, following my favorite teams in the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga. I just got some MLS season tickets for St. Louis City SC. Ole!
- Since retiring from the military, I became involved in advocacy work, which I enjoy thoroughly. I got to meet some of the most amazing people across the political spectrum and I got to advocate for issues I feel strongly about.
- Currently, I serve as a police officer in St. Louis County, Missouri, because I support our first responders and also wish to be part of the positive change in Public Safety.
- I have been married to the love of my life, Alison, for 20 years, and we have two sons, Haris (17) and Kadin (15).
Why are you participating in the fly-in with IAVA?
- I have been the most impressed with IAVA’s advocacy on behalf of veteran issues and other issues important to the veteran community. IAVA has been at the forefront of SIV advocacy and advocacy for our Afghan allies. I would like to lend any help and support to fulfill IAVA’s mission of connecting, uniting, and empowering my fellow post-9/11 veterans.
How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today?
- It exposed me to the entire world and cultures I would have not gotten a chance to get to know. I made life-long friends who are from various racial, religious, ethnic, economic, and educational backgrounds. This diverse experience made me more intellectually curious and open-minded about the world we live in.
Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing?
- Currently, I find our advocacy for the Afghan Adjustment Act to be the most pressing.
- Why? This is due to time constraints and the jeopardy our Afghan allies are in while awaiting a visa to the US. Our promises must be fulfilled, or we will face adverse effects in our future overseas missions where the local support is mission essential.
Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why?
- Burn pits and toxic exposures. This is because I was exposed to a variety of toxins during my active-duty service. From poor infrastructure with asbestos and toxic paint to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, my servicemembers and I were directly exposed and eventually will have lasting adverse health effects for the rest of our lives.
- I believe it is the Federal Government’s responsibility to care for its former, current, and future employees who were/are/will be exposed to toxins, while in federal service, and who develop conditions which are physically, psychologically, and financially devastating. It is also our responsibility to apply lessons learned and prevent further unnecessary exposure of our servicemembers to toxins we know will have negative effects on lives.
More #AllStarAdvocacy videos are available in IAVA’s 2023 All-Star Advocacy Fly-In video showcase.