Esmail Dezhbod

State: Connecticut

City of Residence: Naugatuck, Connecticut

Country of origin: Iran

Arrival in the U.S.: 2000

Mr. Esmail Dezhbod fled religious persecution in Iran and was resettled to Connecticut with his wife and three young children in 2000. When the Iranian Revolution began, the university he was attending was shut down and the leaders of his place of worship, St. Paul Episcopal Church in Tehran, were arrested. With no one to lead his church, he stepped in and fulfilled the role for almost a decade. Mr. Dezhbod was prevented from becoming a priest because of the religious persecution in his country, but other church leaders were murdered, and he was eventually targeted. Mr. Dezhbod now works as a Hospice Chaplain and Episcopalian Priest in Connecticut. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and an advanced degree in Divinity, and he hopes to obtain his Doctorate in ministry. He is most proud of contributing to his community by serving others.

Word for U.S.: Freedom