Holiday happiness

| February 19, 2024

Always nice to start a holiday (even if it’s one of those made-up Every-President-was born-in February ones) with something upbeat.

United States Marine Corps Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews was in Afghanistan assisting with the evacuation of the Kabul airport after the Taliban takeover in 2021 when suicide bombers attacked, killing 183 people. Vargas-Andrews suffered horrific injuries and woke up a week later at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, recovering from wounds resulting from 100 to 150 ball bearings. Two of his close friends had died in the blast and he remained hospitalized for quite some time after two amputations: his right arm below the elbow and his entire left leg.

Like any red-blooded American kid who had just dodged The Big One, Vargas celebrated by buying a truck. Not just any truck – a 450 horsepower/510 pounds-feet of torque, fire breathing Ford Raptor.  Zoom zoom! (Okay, I know that was Mazda, but it’s appropriate.)

Now retired, the former soldier told the Detroit Free Press that he took several cross-country trips in the Raptor from Virginia to California, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming for off-roading, putting the truck through its paces. The Raptor was Vargas-Andrews’ pride and joy for a glorious five months until a driver in a 2017 Nissan Murano crashed into the truck. While the structure of the Ford truck kept the former Marine and his partner Victoria safe, his red Raptor was totaled.

Yeah, I know – MARINE! DAMMIT, not soldier. Anyway, see the owie above. Pretty much the whole back and frame tweaked. The truck gave up its life to keep Vargas safe, just like it should do.

He posted about the incident on his Instagram account (deleted ed.), tagging Ford and Ford Performance, and dozens of commenters chimed in to tag the company. It got the attention of Ford North America Product Communications Director Mike Levine, who helped pass the story up the chain to executive chair Bill Ford.

The great-grandson of Henry Ford got involved, inviting Vargas-Andrews to choose “the Raptor of his dreams” and come to Dearborn, Michigan for a visit. By the time Vargas-Andrews left Michigan, the 26-year-old had picked out a brand-new 2024 Raptor R, which boasts a supercharged V8 with 720 hp—a 270-hp upgrade over his old Raptor. In the process, he got to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dearborn plant to meet Bill Ford, Ford CEO Jim Farley, and scores of Blue Oval employees.  The Drive

$113K truck will be delivered to Vargas’ local dealership when finished.

Worth noting – Vargas ends his posts with #Never a Victim. Detroit Free Press

Good on yer, Ford.

Category: Feel Good Stories

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Hack Stone

Thanks for sharing.

Skivvy Stacker

$113,000 for a TRUCK?

Jebus Crise! My parents bought their HOUSE for $17,500 in 1967!
I don’t drive, so I’d have just taken the tour, and a $150 bottle of bourbon.

Hack Stone

Hack Stone worked with a guy who purchased a custom ordered Range Rover. Hack asked how much it was. $155,000. Keep in mind this is within the National Capital region, so give him a week or two until he gets carjacked. Psul doesn’t have to be worried about being carjacked, not many carjackers have a flatbed trailer readily available.


There is a Ford dealer in Alabama who will install a supercharger on your new F150 with 5.0 engine that bumps horsepower to 700. They claim it can be had for 40k ish. Carries the Ford warranty as well.

Of course, options will bump that price, and the options are part of packages, not piece meal.

The grin on your face after planting the loud pedal is no charge.


Good for Ford! Almost makes me want to buy one…almost


Real men wear bow ties?

Hack Stone

In the event that there is no Holiday Open Thread today, this photo is on the Bing homepage this morning.


Don’t just sit there….do something.


Good on Ford, tho some may say Ford is only doing this for free publicity… Even better is the positive attitude this Marine has toward life in general and has moved on to make the most of it. He could’ve wallowed in self pity and become an attention whore. Seen our fair share of those types, haven’t we?

I’m partial to Ford products, drove Taurus Wagons on the road for many years. Never had one leave me stranded. My F150 is an ’05 and is still runs like a sewing machine. My Flex rides smooth as glass and I can comfortably transport 6 Adorable Deplorables…and their trappings. Have yet to use the luggage rack, but it’s there if I need it. Can also drop all of the back seats and haul 4X8 sheets of plywood…or stretch out and take a nap.


My 75 F250 4×4 sports a 390 4bbl with somewhere over
300k on it. Been plowing snow for decades.
I expect it to out live me so I mention it in my will.


Yep, Big Red will go to my Grandson, he’s an ’05 Model too. The ’18 Flex is willed to my Daughter. May not wait until the Will kicks in and go ahead and make a pre demise gift of both. Everytime I take either vehicle to the Dealership for service, the lot lizard sales force swarms all over me wanting the trade in.


Ford is following Dodge’s lead after Dodge discovered what some skeezy dealer tried pulling on a veteran.

Good on both manufacturers for helping veterans out. Neither the Ford or Dodge vehicles were sold at a price that many of us would consider affordable.


That’s a real feel-good story!

Slow Joe

Great story


Truck around. Find out.

USMC Steve

So is Ford just giving him this ride?