How to help
Contributions may be made to the Andrew Sullens Benefit Account at United Community Bank, www.ucbi.com.
Now in his second tour of duty for his second branch of the military, Army Spc. Andy "Sully" Sullens isn’t ready for a roadside bomb to keep him from his mission.
"He told the doctor to patch him up and he’ll go back and take care of it," said Sullens’ mother, Melinda, five days after her son was seriously injured in the line of duty in Afghanistan.
The 26-year-old Dahlonega native was due to arrive Friday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington from Landstuhl, Germany, where he was being treated for a broken pelvis, broken leg and severe burns that will require skin grafts, his mother said.
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 Sunday near Bagram Air Base. No one was killed in the attack, though Sullens was thrown some 25 feet, 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 prior to the incident.
His mother said Sullens suffered massive blood loss and was placed on a ventilator for lung complications after surgery.
Sullens first enlisted in the Navy in 2003 and was stationed for a time at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After his discharge, he joined the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy and enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard. His troop was activated in March.
Sullens’ older brother Tom, 29, is an Army corporal serving in Camp Taji, Iraq.
Their mother said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had a major influence on their decision to enlist.
"They love their country," she said. "I would say 9/11 played a huge part in the lives of a lot of the boys in Lumpkin County. I used to be a Scout mom, and five out of the eight boys in my group went into the military. All of North Georgia is just so patriotic."
Melinda Sullens, a nurse at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, says she expects her son’s recovery will be lengthy and difficult.
"He’s got a long, long road ahead of him," she said. "He’s going to have to learn to walk again. We’re looking at months to a year or more."
A fund has been set up to help provide financial assistance for Sullens and his wife, Jill, who is joining him in Washington during his recovery. Donations may be made to the Andrew Sullens Benefit Account at United Community Bank.Roadside bombs, also known as improvised explosive devises, or IEDs, are becoming more prevalent in Afghanistan, according to a recent military study. On Wednesday, a U.S. service member and a civilian were killed by an IED on the road from Bagram to Kabul.