News: New Yorker’s goal to help people spans three continents
Story by Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – His journey started in Ghana, took him to the hustle and commotion of Brooklyn, N.Y., and now finds him in a different type of city, Sangin, Afghanistan.
He learned many things in his life, but two things stick out, he wants to help people and appreciate what he has earned.
“I came to the United States when I was about 14,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class George Felli, hospital corpsman, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. “I was born in Accai, Ghana.”
Felli is responsible for the health and safety of 26 servicemembers. He takes care of everything from their medical records and basic first aid to their physicals and periodic health assessments.
“I wanted to work with Marines and volunteered for it,” said Felli. “I wanted to help people, and the Marines never go anywhere without a corpsman.”
Felli’s responsibilities extend beyond the 26 Marines. He volunteered to help prepare and serve meals and works in the battalion aid station.
“(Felli) operates the next pay grade above him,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Fitzgerald, a corpsman and training petty officer with the battalion. “He’s a very hard worker. He can work on a team, but he can also work independently. I wish there were more people like him.”
Felli worked on a vast array of injuries during his time in Afghanistan. He is called in for emergencies to the BAS.
“I’ve worked on amputated limbs and protruding organs,” said Felli.
Many of Felli’s patients have not been Marines. Afghans bring wounded to the aid station if there are no other options. On one occasion, he treated children who suffered burns from an enemy emplaced improvised explosive device.
“We’ve worked together on the table with some of the mass casualties,” said Fitzgerald, from Yucca Valley, Calif. “He did a great job in those situations and helped stop the bleeding, so we could take the casualties to surgery.”
Living the first half of his life in Ghana helped prepare Felli for his deployment to Afghanistan. He does not mind the long hours and hard work.
“I’ve seen the rough parts of life,” said Felli. “Coming from Ghana gives me a different perspective. In the (United States), we have everything. In Ghana we have to fight or work for everything.”
Having to work hard made Felli more appreciative of what he has earned. This helps while deployed thousands of miles from his wife, Amber and 2-year-old son, Daniel.
“I take a deep breath, and I remember everything is going to be okay,” said Felli. “For me, I have more than I could ever ask for right now.”
Felli still has extended family in Ghana. He tries to visit as much as possible.
“My whole family is very proud of me,” said Felli. “They sent me some Christmas emails with their prayers and support. I’d like to take my family to visit them once my son is older.”
Felli plans on re-enlisting next month. It has been a long journey encompassing three continents for him. For now, he continues to support the Marines, Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan natives who require his help in Afghanistan before returning to his family.