Soldier returns to warm welcome

  • Recently returned Georgia National Guard 2nd Lt. Edgar Rojas (left) presents Pastor Jeff Pullium of Concord at Dahlonega with the flag that flew over the base at Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan where he was stationed. The presentation took place during the church’s recent Warrior Welcome Home celebration.
    Recently returned Georgia National Guard 2nd Lt. Edgar Rojas (left) presents Pastor Jeff Pullium of Concord at Dahlonega with the flag that flew over the base at Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan where he was stationed. The presentation took place during the church’s recent Warrior Welcome Home celebration.
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Concord at Dahlonega recently welcomed home one of their own, along with some of his fellow 48th Georgia National Guard service men and women.
He's 2nd Lt. Edgar Rojas, a Lumpkin County High School graduate and JROTC cadet commissioned from the University of North Georgia in 2017.
“He is a remarkable young man,” said his pastor, Rev. Jeff Pulliam. “He comes from a remarkable family with incredible hearts to serve. It’s no surprise Edgar has a heart to serve as well.”
Rojas spent the last seven months as a platoon leader in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, the third largest U.S. base in the country. When asked if he and his fellow soldiers saw action while there, he said, “often enough.”
In addition to the warm welcome home, Concord at Dahlonega supported Rojas and his platoon while he was deployed, sending care packages to Rojas to share with his platoon.
“We didn’t have too much interaction with the civilian population, but we did get to go to a school and hand out school supplies the church sent us,” Rojas said. “That was one of the coolest things, being able to share with the kids and show them we really did care and want the best for their country.”
Rojas’ parents, Isaac and Delilah, along with fellow church member and veteran Lee Durham, organized the event. But, Pulliam said, “It was an awesome team effort. It was the congregation. I love for the church members to pick up and run with an idea. I think that’s really healthy for the church.”
Durham also has a son, Carson, and a young man he considers as his own, Miles Ball, serving overseas. Both attended UNG before being deployed and have not yet returned home.
Present at the Warrior Welcome celebration were Sgt. Major John Ballenger and Lt. Col. Chris Powell, 48th IBCT (Infantry Brigade Command Team) Executive and Administrative Officer.
Powell said Rojas “is an excellent example of the nearly 2,000 Georgia Army National Guard ‘Citizen Soldiers’ that deployed to defend the people of Afghanistan while also ensuring that it would never again be a location where terroristic acts could be planned and launched towards the United States of America.
“We are a far more effective unit because of support like this,” he told the large crowd filling the sanctuary.
In addition to Rojas’ duties as a platoon leader, he had the opportunity to assist surgeons in a medical unit while in Afghanistan, helping deal with the results of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and gunshot wounds. He plans to remain in the Guard, moving to Augusta in the spring to start graduate school with the goal of becoming a Physicians Assistant.