JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi soldier has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the research he did while stationed at Abu Ghraid prison during his deployment to Iraq.
Army Reserve Sgt. Randy Sandifer, 30, of Pinola was with the 412th Theater Engineer Command working as an administrative clerk. But his other interests motivated him to volunteer to do environmental testing on the land surrounding Abu Ghraid to help protect the local water supply.
Sandifer, who went to Ole Miss, didn’t have an engineering degree at the time. But he taught himself the skills he needed. In 2006, he spoke to a group at the school, about among other things, his experiences cleaning up after Abu Ghraid. In that crowd of students was Johnathan Hutchines, who is now a professor at Philander Smith College in Arkansas. Hutchins, saying he was struck by Sandifer’s humanity and never forgot him, nominated him for the Nobel Prize.
Friday, Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi, both won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for their global fight for the rights of oppressed children. But the Nobel Committee’s competition rules keep Sandifer’s chances of winning the honor alive through next year.