Afghanistan war veteran remembers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Afghanistan war veteran remembers

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Stores gear up for Tax Free Weekend

    Stores gear up for Tax Free Weekend

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:18 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:18:42 GMT
    Retail stores in South Georgia are gearing up for the tax free holiday weekend.More >>
    Retail stores in South Georgia are gearing up for the tax free holiday weekend.More >>
  • Shoppers fire up for tax free holiday

    Shoppers fire up for tax free holiday

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:12 AM EDT2014-08-01 08:12:21 GMT
    Calculators, spirals, backpacks...just a few essentials for back-to-school shopping and with a bonus of a tax free holiday, shoppers will be scrambling to snag the best deals. More >>
    Calculators, spirals, backpacks...just a few essentials for back-to-school shopping and with a bonus of a tax free holiday, shoppers will be scrambling to snag the best deals. More >>
  • Phoebe foundation receives donation for medical student housing

    Phoebe foundation receives donation for medical student housing

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:25 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:25:30 GMT
    Lauren Ray, Phoebe Foundation Executive DirectorLauren Ray, Phoebe Foundation Executive Director
    A generous donation will help build a $5 million medical student housing facility on Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's campus.The Richard King Mellon Foundation donated $1 million to the Phoebe Foundation for the proposed 25-unit gated community. More >>
    A generous donation will help build a $5 million medical student housing facility on Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's campus.The Richard King Mellon Foundation donated $1 million to the Phoebe Foundation for the proposed 25-unit gated community. More >>

September 10, 2002

Valdosta - Yonel Dorelis's life was forever changed on September 11th.

"I got up that morning, turned on the television, and saw the first plane hit the tower," said Dorelis. "I knew then it was really bad."

In his 18 years of military service, Dorelis had never seen such a brutal attack. He knew what the terrorists actions meant for his unit...preparation for war. "My unit worked continuously, training and getting ready for missions until we were deployed," said Dorelis.

His duty in Afghanistan was a crucial one, piloting war choppers to rescue wounded troops. Dorelis remembers, "I was involved in two rescues and was able to help save five lives."

And extreme living conditions in Afghanistan did not make the rescues any easier. Dorelis states, "There are soldiers living in the mud and sleeping in ditches, while they'd all rather be home with their families."

The September 11th attacks had a double impact on Dorelis's life. Before making his home in Valdosta at Moody Air Force Base, he spent over half his life growing up in New York City.

"With me being from New York and having this happen to the place I'd grown up with, it hit really close to home," said Dorelis.

His brother worked in the World Trade Center. Luckily, he made it out safely, but others Dorelis knew weren't so lucky. "The fire house I grew up next to lost over half their workers," said Dorelis. "You never think the place you walk by every day will be hit like that."

And although he'll never forget the devastation felt by his hometown, he says the events make him prouder than ever to be a New Yorker and an American.

posted at 5:30 by ashley.harper@walb.com