For years, Johnny Walker interpreted for the U.S. Navy SEALs on missions all over his home country of Iraq. He served on over a thousand missions, and stood out as an invaluable part of nearly every team he worked with.
No, Johnny Walker isn't his real name. The SEALs gave him the nickname in honor of his love of Johnnie Walker Whisky — and to protect his identity, a necessary precaution even today.
"Bad guys, if they hear your real name, they can find you," he tells NPR's Arun Rath.
As part of a new series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click and people leap forward into their careers.
Before she became an Emmy Award-winning journalist, Deborah Norville was a senior at the University of Georgia with a low-paying job as a weekend reporter at WAGA-TV in Atlanta. She was barely scraping by on her weekly pay of $75.