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Featured Upstate Gators - Sara & Oliver Harris

posted Sep 12, 2014, 10:48 AM by Alexander West   [ updated Sep 14, 2014, 7:16 PM ]
You can find Oliver Harris at Friar's Tavern on Saturdays, cheering on the Gators, along with the rest of the Upstate Gator Club. Even though his wife isn’t at his side, Oliver is quick to share pictures on his phone and tell stories of her serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan – more than 7,000 miles away.


Sergeant First Class Sara Harris is currently deployed with the 207th Regional Support Group. This is her fourth deployment abroad. In her distinguished career, SFC Harris has served in a number of roles; recently, she completed postings as a lead military and personnel specialist for Greenville’s Service Readiness Processing Center (SRPC), and in the Military Postal Service Agency (a postal unit that processes over two tons of mail a week).


Oliver and Sara were married in March of 2000. Three months later, SFC Harris left for Kosovo on a United Nations peacekeeping mission (K-FOR). She returned in 2001 and left again in 2002 -- this time heading to Korea for an extended joint training exercise with the South Korean army. In 2003, she shipped off to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.


“The hardest part is over,” said Oliver, who is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, as he described the difficulties of their long-distance marriage. As Oliver puts it, “modern technology makes it easy.” Of course, back in their Kosovo and Kuwait days, they could only send letters back-and-forth and, on occasion, email. Today, they Skype twice a day.


During a break from deployments in 2001, Oliver took Sara to a Gator game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It was her first time going to a game like that. Although she didn’t attend the University of Florida as a student, she had become a Gator by marriage and, after experiencing the passion at that game, her blood began to run orange-and-blue. In fact, she proudly displays the Gator Flag while she’s overseas today.

So, when you see Oliver next Saturday, make sure you thank him for his and his wife’s service. Because even though he makes it seem “easy,” we can only begin to imagine the difficulties they have endured. Oliver and his wife, SFC Sara Harris, make us all proud – as Americans and as Gators.


We love our Gators, but we would all do well to remember that our true heroes aren’t those we’re cheering on the football field. . . sometimes they’re sitting right at our table.


Feature By Dana Johnston, October 2013

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