A Lost Boy of Sudan becomes an Atlanta police officer | Bill Torpy

Jacob Mach gets a hug from his 6-year-old son Mach Mach after he arrives home from work on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in Atlanta. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
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Jacob Mach gets a hug from his 6-year-old son Mach Mach after he arrives home from work on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in Atlanta. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Jacob Mach, a former “Lost Boy of Sudan” who’s an eternal optimist, now wears the Atlanta blue. Photo by Bill Torpy
Caption
Jacob Mach, a former “Lost Boy of Sudan” who’s an eternal optimist, now wears the Atlanta blue. Photo by Bill Torpy

Almost 16 years ago, Jacob Mach was a bewildered 20-year-old Sudanese refugee who landed in a strange new world — a worn-out apartment in Clarkston.

He was a member of a band of teens and young men who became known as the Lost Boys of Sudan, a large group of young people who had spent most of their lives wandering the hostile plains of Africa, running from war and surviving starvation and other cruelty.

Mach, like many of his contemporaries, threw himself into his new land, learning English, study habits, how to find jobs. And he thrived.

Four years ago, Mach applied to be an Atlanta police officer but washed out with a stress fracture. The following year he did well but was bounced at the end of the 22-week academy after failing the driving test. Last year he applied again. And you know the old saying, about the third time's the charm ...

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