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Dahlonega soldier on the mend
Sullens suffered broken pelvis, leg and burns in blast in Afghanistan
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Army Spc. Andrew "Sully" Sullens


Listen as Jill Sullens, wife of Army Spc. Andy "Sully" Sullens, who was injured in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded, talks about her husband’s medical progress.

Army Spc. Andy "Sully" Sullens doesn’t remember the explosion or being thrown about 25 feet from the vehicle.

"I was knocked unconscious," he said Sunday in a phone interview from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "All of a sudden, I just saw a flash and then I woke up in the middle of the street."

Sullens, a 2001 graduate of Lumpkin County High School, was one of four Georgia Army National Guard members wounded when their Humvee ran over an explosive device while on patrol May 17 near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

No one was killed in the attack, said his mother, Melinda, in an interview that week.

The 26-year-old Dahlonega native was taken to Walter Reed from Landstuhl, Germany, where he is being treated for a broken pelvis, broken leg and severe burns that will require skin grafts, his mother said.

Sullens is a member of Charlie Troop, a reconnaissance and surveillance outfit attached to the 108th Cavalry Regiment and based out of Dalton. Charlie Troop was in Afghanistan about a month before the incident.

"He’s actually doing really well," said his wife, Jill, who is at Walter Reed. "He has started the physical therapy, and an occupational therapist has been in a few times since the end of last week."

Once it arrives, a wheelchair sensitive to Andy Sullens’ injuries will enable him to leave the bed "in no time and be able to go down to physical therapy," Jill said.

"He’s not going to be able to put any weight on his pelvis for 12 weeks," she said. "... And I’ll guess he’ll start learning how to walk again from there. I guess he’ll have to start with a walker, crutches or something like that."

She said she is holding up fairly well.

The hospital’s Soldier Family Assistance Center "has been just wonderful," said Sullens, 23.

"His mom and I have been up here since last Friday and they’re paying for the hotel room for us, they took care of our travel to get up here and ... there’s nothing that we’ve needed that we haven’t been able to get."

The couple lives in Dahlonega, where Jill Sullens works in systems at J&J Foods and is an accounting major at North Georgia College & State University.

They met in high school and have been married since August 2005.

Andy Sullens’ ordeal began for his wife while she was driving to Ellijay to play softball. She got a call from an officer relaying that her husband suffered an injury that was not life-threatening.

"I guess I was just kind of shocked. I didn’t know what to think at first," she said. "... Being able to see him and already see such a big improvement over the last week is just amazing. I feel like I’m doing good because he’s doing better.

"He may not be able to walk right now, but he’s in one piece and his spirits are good."

Andy Sullens, who has received a purple heart for his injuries, said he knows things could have been much worse.

"There are 18- and 19-year-old kids around here with prosthetic legs and (stuff) like that on them," he said. "I definitely got the lighter end of the deal."

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