Dzeldina (“Gina”) Dželil was born in Foča, Bosnia. Her family was forced out of their home early in the war; her father was captured and killed by Bosnian Serbs, while the rest of the family took refuge in Montenegro. After spending time in Poland and Germany, her family came to Bowling Green in 1998. Gina graduated from Warren Central High School in 2000, and from Western Kentucky University in 2004, with majors in business management and German. She has worked continuously since she started college, and currently does accounting for BIH Express, a Bosnian-owned and Bowling Green based transportation company.
Because Gina came to Bowling Green as a teenager with little knowledge of English, she found it very difficult at first. Though she initially thought of her life here as temporary, she eventually felt at home and explains,
“to me, home is where my family is.”
As a young professional, she began acting as an informal liaison between city officials and the Bosnian community, and in recent years has taken on official roles such as serving on the city’s International Communities Advisory Council and on the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission. Gina reflects,
“I’m so happy to be part of this Bosnian American community in Bowling Green…I think that Bowling Green has a unique community, and that’s thanks to the Bowling Green American community and the city…I think we have contributed to the city culturally and economically…and I’m just happy to be here.”