A local soldier died May 31 from injuries suffered while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Alexander G. Povilaitis, 47, was fatally injured when his vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device, according to a news release distributed by the Department of Defense Sunday.
News accounts listed his home address as Dawsonville, but he actually resided just across the county line on Signal Ridge Drive in Lumpkin County, according to Michael P. McMahon, VFW post commander for Lumpkin and Dawson counties. He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
His ex-wife, Kim Povilaitis, said that his current wife and stepchildren live in Washington state.
My family is in such pain right now, its hard to talk about it, Povilaitis, who lives in Kennesaw, said.
She said that Staff Sgt. Povilaitis had worked in construction, and was involved in the construction of such state landmarks like Turner Field and Centennial Olympic Park.
We moved in Dawsonville when our youngest boy, Blaine, was five, she continued. He is now 21. Alex left Dawsonville
in 2009 when he got stationed to New Mexico. He was stationed in Washington in 2011.
I was shocked when I heard the tragic news, said Sen. Steve Gooch. Sgt. Povilaitis is truly an American hero, and we will forever be grateful for his sacrifices and those of his family he leaves behind.
Rep. Amos Amerson agreed.
As a Vietnam veteran myself, I fully understand the anguish that his family is going through and feel the pain of the ones who served with him, he said. Ive very proud of the young man. Im proud of all of our servicemen.
Unit records show that Staff Sgt. Povilaitis originally entered the Army in February 1984, where he served for three years as a Single Channel Radio Operator. He then had a break in service until early 2008, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve.
In September 2008, he re-enlisted into the active duty Army, and had been deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2009 through July 2010.
Staff Sgt. Povilaitis deployed with his unit, the 570th Sapper Company, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555h Engineer Brigade, in July 2011 to Afghanistan.
According to the news release, his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Badge.
He will be laid to rest on June 16 at H.M. Patterson & Son Oglethorpe Hill Chapel in Atlanta, his ex-wife confirmed. He will then be laid to rest at Georgia National Cemetery.
Some news reports have stated that the family is planning a memorial service for the Dawsonville area for June 9. However, Povilaitis said that those reports are not true. That was wrong information, she said.
The family asked that, if anyone would like to send flowers, they use Seasons Sensations, 404-483-1008. Owner Richard Cantrell is a family friend, Povilaitis said.
Staff Sgt. Povilaitis leaves behind a wife, three sons, one daughter and a 2-year-old granddaughter.