Folsom Marine Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews has been named the 2023 Veteran of the Year for the California 7th Assembly District. The honor was presented by Assemblyman Josh Hoover this past week.

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“I was humbled to recognize Marine Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews as the 2023 Veteran of the Year for the 7th Assembly District at the Warfighter Overwatch Patriots Gala, “ said Hoover, who is also a longtime resident of Folsom. “Sergeant Andrews grew up in Folsom and will forever be remembered as a hero in our community.”

While engaged in a security detail during the civilian evacuation of Afganistan back in 2021, Sergeant Andrews was struck by a suicide bombing attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport. The attack killed 13 U.S. service members and injured 17 more.

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Since that day, Sergeant Vargas-Andrews has gone through numerous surgeries and continues to go through an extensive recovery.  During all of the adversities he has faced himself, the Folsom High School alum continues to dedicate him time to help others through his own recovery and rehabilitation. He has since been an advocate for veterans as he continues to openly sharing his experience. 

Additionally, Andrews has been committed to holding leaders in Washington accountable for the tragic incident  by testifying in front of Congress back in March regarding the events of the suicide bombing attack, hoping to prevent future such tragedies.

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See previous Folsom Times story and video of Tyler Vargas Andrews testimony to Congress here.

“This recognition is but a small token of my appreciation for Sergeant Andrews’ service to our nation and sacrifice in defense of our freedoms,” added Hoover, who also commended the locally founded and Warfighter Overwatch organization. “To support our Veteran and first responder community and their families through a variety of programs built to encourage camaraderie, resilience, and connectedness by harnessing the power of the environment to remind them of their strength, foundation and their innate ability to adapt and overcome.” 

Vargas-Andrews graduated from Folsom High School in 2016. During his youth, he had a great passion for playing baseball and soccer here in the community. He joined the Marine Corps in August of 2017, and was initially assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, based at Camp Pendleton.

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Among the many catastrophic injuries he suffered was the loss of his left leg at the hip and his right arm above the elbow. He also lost a kidney in the bombing as well as numerous other injuries.

After being hospitalized afar for a straight year and undergoing over 45 different surgeries initially, he made his first visit back home to Folsom in July of 2022. At that time the local native received a tremendous showing of support and warm welcome  from the Folsom community who lined the streets from areas near the Sacramento International Airport and all the way into Folsom as he was escorted home in a hometown heroes fashion. He was then honored at the Folsom-Pro Rodeo that year and returned again this year as it had always been one of his favorite events in the community.

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Despite the life changing injuries and trauma he endured that nearly cost him his life, he is known to many for always sharing humble words of positivity.  In the future he hopes to one day open an adaptive gym to give back to the community and fellow veterans and those with disabilities. 

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan