NFM Lending is pleased to honor Specialist 4 Henry Shimberg, USA, as the NFM Salute for November 2022.
Shimberg was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, where he grew up speaking Russian and Ukrainian. “Beautiful city, beautiful subway system, beautiful people,” he said fondly of Kyiv. At 12 years old, Shimberg and his family moved to the United States. Decades later, he will never forget the awe he felt when he arrived in America. “The taste of the air is something I can’t describe,” he recalled. “And the welcome that we received, again, it’s something indescribable. The grocery stores that are full of food where you didn’t have to stand in line was remarkable to a 12-year-old kid.”
When he grew older, Shimberg was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life but knew he wanted to give back to the country that had welcomed him as a child. “I walked into a U.S. Army recruiting office, and said, ‘I speak Russian, what can you guys help me with? I want to serve my country.’ And I went into the U.S. Army.”
He enlisted in 1985, and his multilingual skills made Shimberg an ideal Army Specialist. As a military linguist, he facilitated communications during a historical event: the Bering Bridge Expedition of 1989. The Expedition was a joint endeavor by six American and six Russian explorers to improve relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and to encourage the restoration of free travel between the small Indigenous towns along the Bering Strait. After two months of crossing the ice from Siberia to Alaska, the explorers were nearing the end of their journey. “When they crossed the U.S. border, there was going to be a meeting of U.S. and Russian representatives, and they needed a translator,” explained Shimberg. “The border where the U.S. and Russia meets runs between two islands: one is called Little Diomede, which belongs to the United States and has a Native village, and Big Diomede, which has a barracks of border guards.”
Shimberg and other 6th Light Infantry Division members flew in a Black Hawk helicopter from Nome, Alaska, to receive the party. “Me and this lieutenant colonel from the Alaska National Guard, we flew down to Little Diomede and we were met by our counterparts from the Russian border guards’ colonel and his team, and several news video crews,” he said. “We met on the frozen ice between these two islands. And I got to translate the meeting between these two colonels.” After four years of service, Shimberg left the Army in 1989.
Shimberg lives in McLean, Virginia, with his wife and daughter. He is immensely proud of his family and enjoys spending time with them.
The NFM Salute is an initiative in which one military member or Veteran is honored as the “Salute of the Month.” Salutes are chosen from nominations on the NFM Salute website, www.nfmsalute.com. The “Salute of the Month” is featured on the website with a biography and information about their service. NFM Lending will donate to a nonprofit in the Salute’s name. NFM Lending is proud to present $2,500 to Wounded Warrior Project in honor of Shimberg. NFM looks forward to the opportunity to continue to honor military service members and Veterans through the NFM Salute initiative.