Special to the Daily Sun
January 7, 2017
In Iraq in 2005-06, as an army combat medic assigned to sappers (sappers go first, clear the obstacles, clear the land mines so the infantry can follow), he attended to wounded soldiers, hunted IED’s, survived the focus of an infamous sniper, and helped save more than 2,500 lives.Blood, pain, earth shaking explosions: William Golliher knows about these. Golliher experienced hell in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the Flagstaff man, like millions of war veterans across the ages, carries that hell within him. His journey continues as he struggles to find a new normal. Critical to that process, he said, is the company of other veterans.
Marine veteran Ralph Boyer knows Golliher through the Marine League Charities Flagstaff group.
“What you have is a hero here,” Boyer said. “That’s what.”
Golliher immediately protests.
“I don’t consider myself a hero. I did a tour in Iraq and in Afghanistan,” he said.
Golliher proudly traces his family's military history back to a soldier in the Revolutionary War and continuing unbroken through subsequent conflicts involving the United States. His grandfather fought in World War II. His father is a United States Coast Guard veteran.
Despite this, he has found healing through family and community. Although he can’t work, he keeps busy volunteering. Last September he got married. His wife, Philan Tree, just found out she’s pregnant. Golliher has trouble concentrating but has found it helps him to keep to a routine. His wife and a service dog are constant companions.
But his biggest source of support, he said, is other veterans who speak the same language. He has a support network of veterans who understand what he has had to live through and the nightmares he now has to live with.
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