Wounded West Michigan Marine Picks Up New Truck

Posted at 9:15 PM, Dec 23, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-24 04:36:01-05

GRANDVILLE, Mich — A West Michigan Marine wounded in Afghanistan two years ago is back home and is the proud owner of a new adapted truck.

And the price tag on it continues to shrink.

Robert Thrailkill, Jr. lost both of his legs in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

After two years of rehab in the Washington, D.C. area, Thrailkill moved back home for good on December 2.

“To be back, it’s overwhelming at first,” he says, “but still just like everybody else being back.”

When Thrailkill came back to visit family earlier this fall, he went to Borgman Ford-Madza looking for a new truck. He decided on a 2013 Ford F-150 Lariat pickup. His model would include driver modifications to the steering and speed controls, as well as wheelchair storage in the truck’s bed. It would give Robert all the tools he’d need to get around on his own.

All that doesn’t come cheap – the total cost for the vehicle pushes $70,000.

So Scott Gibbons and Borgman launched a fundraising effort to cover the cost of the truck for Robert.

“It was overwhelming. Unexpected,” Thrailkill says. “When they – after everything – they come, they went above and beyond what they needed to.”

Between the efforts of various military funds and the people of West Michigan paying it forward, Thrailkill’s truck is more than 80 percent paid for.

Several former military members were present at Borgman when Thrailkill picked up the truck on Friday.

He says the truck is better than he could have ever imagined, but the freedom it gives him is the real gift.

“Being back now, my independence is something that I cherish, that I need,” he says. “I mean, going to get my mail or anything, just to drive up there and get it makes me feel good about myself.”

“And all the help that people had, I appreciate it.”

Donations are still being accepted for Robert. You can drop them off at Borgman Ford-Madza at 3150 28th Street SW in Grandville, or online at The Semper Fi Fund by making a donation under the name Robert Thrailkill, Jr.