Epic Ford of Everett on Jan. 21 awarded U.S. Army veteran Kyle Storbakken with a Ford F-150 as part of its Nominate a Hero promotion. Family, friends and supporters, including former mayor Ray Stephanson, were on hand for the celebration.
Storbakken, who grew up in Mukilteo, was recognized “for his extraordinary military service and commitment to our community,” dealership owner Jeff Swickard said.
The 1998 Kamiak High School grad enlisted in the Army in 2002 and served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Herald readers may remember a 2005 story about Storbakken, when the then-medic helped deliver a baby girl in what was thought to be the first birth aboard an Army helicopter in a war zone. The special delivery happened between two remote Army posts in Afghanistan.
Later that year, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for helping evacuate injured Marines from an ambush site.
But it was in December 2005 that life shifted for the medic. Storbakken volunteered to stay an extra three months at Bagram Air Force Base so two other medics could go home for the holidays and see their children, according to a narrative. During that time, an incoming mortar exploded near a makeshift gym where he was working out. He was later diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
Storbakken was honorably discharged as a sergeant in June 2006. He moved back to Everett and worked through memory and concentration struggles for several years until his diagnosis and receipt of disabled veteran status.
Storbakken was thankful for the gift of the truck.
“For many of us struggling to make it home, just having someone take the time to acknowledge our service is more than thank you enough and for some possibly to give life another chance,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I don’t know if one of us who served in combat is more deserving than the other, but all the same I am humbled by the gesture.”
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