FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) — A Folsom man is fighting for his life after he was critically injured during Thursday’s bombing in Kabul.
Family and friends of U.S. Marine Sgt. Tyler Justin Vargas Andrews told FOX40 Sunday that he is being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.
While he’s recovering, people in Folsom made sure to show their support.
“He was a really energetic young kid, always very respectful,” recalled Diane Anderson, a longtime friend of the Andrews family.
Anderson has known Vargas Andrews since she and his mother, Tiffany, became friends during law school. She said they quickly bonded because they were both single moms even though her daughters were much older than Vargas Andrews.
“My daughters were, I think, 13 and 14 and Tyler was five,” Anderson recalled. “And so my daughters were like, ‘Do we have to hang out with this little brat?’”
When Anderson heard about Thursday’s bombing in Kabul, she said she couldn’t help but wonder if the 23-year-old Marine sergeant was somehow involved.
“It was Friday at 3:30 that I got a call from Tiffany. At that moment the world stood still,” Anderson said.
While Vargas Andrews survived, Anderson said he’s still fighting for his life. His mother immediately left Folsom for Germany to be next to her son.
“She was… she was very emotional,” Anderson said.
This is why on Sunday, Danny O’Neel wanted to rally behind the family by making ribbons to place around the city.
As an army veteran himself and the co-founder of Warfighter Overwatch, a non-profit for veterans and first responders, O’Neel said he understands how difficult it is for military families to heal during hard times.
“Just want to make sure that the community knows that these people come from our neighborhood, our communities, right here in Folsom,” O’Neel explained.
The yellow ribbons scattered around the city of Folsom not only pay tribute to those wounded and killed in Kabul, but it’s also a reminder to Vargas Andrews that the community will always support him.
“I believe that having that hometown support is vital for his. It reminds him what he was fighting for,” O’Neel said.
Both Anderson and O’Neel said they’re praying for Vargas Andrews’ recovery every day and encourage others to do so, too.
Vargas Andrews’ great uncle provided FOX40 the following statement on behalf of the family:
The family of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Tyler Justin Vargas Andrews, 23, today confirmed that he was one of the injured United States Marines in the suicide bombing attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, August 26, 2021.
Sergeant Vargas Andrews is currently receiving emergency medical care in Germany. His family is now at his bedside.
Sergeant Vargas Andrews is the embodiment of the United States Marine Corps institutional core values of honor, courage and commitment. As a young man he knew he wanted to be a U.S. Marine and stayed true to that vision. While stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, he shared the experience of re-uniting Afghan children with their families in a situation that was tenuous and chaotic, which brought him great joy and made his mission worthwhile.
Sergeant Vargas Andrews joined the Marine Corps on August 28, 2017, and is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, based at Camp Pendleton.
He graduated from Folsom High School in 2016. He has a passion for baseball and soccer, the latter he played with several junior leagues, high school teams and Folsom Lake College.
He is from Folsom, Calif.Cameron Andrews, Great Uncle, Andrews Family