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U.S. Army Sgt. Stephen Jackel joined the military in 2008. During his time in the service, Jackel was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan where he received countless awards, including a Purple Heart. In addition, Jackel’s unit was presented with a Valorous Unit Award.
While on convoy in Afghanistan on August 23, 2011, Jackel was injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded underneath his RG31 vehicle. The force of the blast knocked Jackel out. When Jackel came to he realized that he was trapped inside the burning vehicle, along with his team members. While attempting to escape and save the lives of several soldiers, Jackel used his amputated leg to put out the flames around him before finding an exit through the hatch at the top of the vehicle. With the hatch open, he quickly assisted others out of the burning vehicle. The blast left Jackel with severe injuries, including bilateral below the knee amputations and a traumatic brain injury. He also received multiple soft tissue injuries from shrapnel.
Stephen Jackel and his wife, Adriana, and their six children now live in Little Elm, Texas. Thanks to builder Tim Jackson and many other sponsors, the Jackel family moved into their new home in May, 2014. Jackel hopes to eventually work full time for Operation Blue Pride, an organization that brings together wounded veterans in an effort to save our oceans.