Sergent Stephen W. Jackel
|Sergeant Stephen W. Jackel
United States Army
|Submitted by Rick Turner
"In honor of my brother"
United States Army Sergent Stephen Jackel joined the military in January 2008 as a combat engineer. During his time in the service, "Jackel" was deployed to Iraq in 2009 and Afganistan and 2001. He was assigned to Company C, 73rd Engineer Battalion, First Striker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. Jackel received numerous awards, including a Purple Heart for his heroism. In addition, Jackel's unit was presented with a Valorous Unit Award.
While on convoy in Afganistan 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 unconscious. When Jackel regained consciousness he realized that he was trapped inside the burning vehicle, and his team members were pinned and unable to move. While attempting to escape and save the lives of his fellow 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 assisted his team 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 suffered multiple soft tissue injuries from shrapnel.
Although Stephen had two prostetic legs, he never let it stop him. He embodied the spirit of an American hero. Following his service in the military, Jackel focused his passion for service on helping veterans in a way that is rarely matched. Jackel continued to give to his country and community through service as a motivational speaker, and a diving instructor for people with physical disabilities. He also regularly preformed at concerts, jumped from helicopters, rappelled down the sides of buildings, and participated in workout competitions; always showing physical disaiblities don't have to hold you back in life. He used humor, encouragement and a genuine compassion to connect with veterans and make a real difference in their lives.
He lived by credo "give more than you take". His service and passion made the world a better place to be. We lost Jackel on January 3, 2018 but his memory will live on in us forever.