Remembering A UGA Hero, First Lieutenant Noah Harris
This Memorial Day, we remember a US hero and UGA legend Noah Harris.
Former Georgia cheerleading captain, Noah Harris was a big part of college football. Harris, from the small Georgia mountain town of Ellijay, led 93,000 fans in Sanford Stadium in cheering on the Dawgs.
Harris graduated from Georgia in 2003. After 9/11, he had joined ROTC and entered the Army as a first lieutenant in the 3rd Infantry Division. In June 2005, while on patrol, Harris was tragically killed near Baghdad by an Iraqi insurgent rocked-propelled grenade.
At Gilmer High School in Ellijay, Harris was a student leader, captain of the football team and a state wrestling champion. He entered Georgia and brought his spirit and athleticism to the cheerleading squad.
Harris excelled in the classroom as well. He was selected for the first class of the prestigious University of Georgia’s Terry College Leadership Scholars Program. His adviser, Professor James Link told radio station WUOG, “The guy always had a smile on his face. He wasn’t a complainer. He was an optimist, and that’s probably what I’m going to remember the most. He was always happy and always was on to the next thing.”
Harris had an infectious smile and a zest for life. His former cheerleading partner, Shelly Gorbiesky recalled to WUOG how well Harris interacted with people, especially children — “He just gets down to their level and, you know, would play with them, would–if it was a boy, he’d kind of rough and tumble with him. And he just had that personality about him.”
While in Iraq, Harris initiated Operation Noah’s Dream. Friends and family sent him thousands of Beanie Babies and stuffed soccer balls so he could give them to the local children. He was affectionately known for having “bullets in one pocket, Beanie Babies in the other.”
To try to raise his unit’s morale, Harris also organized a pen pal program that paired his fellow soldiers with UGA students.
At his memorial service in Ellijay, on what would have been his 24th birthday, nearly half the town’s 2000 residents remembered Army First Lieutenant Noah Harris for making the supreme sacrifice.
At the service, dog tags with Harris’ name, the date he died and an acronym of the way he led his life- IDWIC, ‘I do what I can,’ were distributed. Noah Harris did more than most of us can even imagine. He left a lasting legacy.
This Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember the late Noah Harris.