Forged by Opportunity
Navy Officer Turns to Bodybuilding
Lagos, Nigeria, 1994: A father entrusts his beloved 15-year-old son to a close friend, knowing it will probably be years before they meet again, if ever. He will miss Sheu (pronounced SHEE-YOO), his son, but knows the opportunities that await in America are limitless. He takes Sheu by the shoulders, looks into his eyes and offers one final piece of advice: "I want you to go out there, know where you came from and make us proud."
Since that moment, Sheu Yusuf, now a U.S. Navy lieutenant, has strived to live up to his father's words.
First he joined the Navy, then he made chief, next he became a commissioned officer. Now he's both a professional bodybuilder and the damage control assistant aboard USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), in charge of training Sailors how to fight the ship in case of an emergency.
"He gave me the opportunity he was supposed to have," said Yusuf. "That's why, since I've lived in this country, I have always wanted to do everything to the best of my ability to make my father proud."
His father's best friend had returned from America after leaving his son in the care of Yusuf's father, he explained. Grateful to the elder Yusuf, his father's friend asked him to come to America, but Yusuf's father asked if his friend could take his son instead. After two years of paperwork, his father's best friend adopted Yusuf, and they left for the United States together.