Iraq Veteran Honored At College Commencement - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/5/07-Longview

Iraq Veteran Honored At College Commencement

An Iraq war veteran was back home in Longview today to receive honors from the university he once attended.  U.S. Army Sgt. Paul Gilliland was wounded in Iraq, but the story he has to tell is one on heroism and faith on the battle field.  

Attending the Letourneau University commencement, Sgt. Gilliland received honors from the school.  The former student left school to join the army and help in the fight in Iraq.  "There were a few times when I was nervous about it and every time you go out you never know what could happen there's snipers out there," said Paul.

"When I first got the word, I was in shock this was a young man I had worked with and taught as he worked with us in campus security," said Letourneau security chief Terry Turner.

Two months ago in Ramadi, Iraq, a bomb exploded in a building his unit was in.  Shots rang out.  More than half of his platoon was hit, several including himself severely wounded.

"I don't actually have any memory of that night the only thing I know is from my soldiers that were there," said Gilliland.

Seeing one of his men bleeding badly and thinking he may have been in his last minutes the Sgt. crawled to him and witnessed Christ to him.

"Well, I prayed with him.  I wanted to make sure they were Christian, just laying there praying, praying for everybody, praying for that soldier in particular," Paul said.

He exhorted his men to hang on until help arrived and every one of them survived.  Gilliland lost his right leg.  He was presented the university's first ever servants award.  Paul wants to return to school and finish a degree in electrical engineering.  Letourneau University also awarded him a scholarship to finish his education.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.  bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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