WHS student raising local awareness for injured military personnel with yellow ribbons

Winters High School student Lisa Garcia hangs a yellow ribbon along Main Street last Thursday in hopes of raising awareness and community support for her cousin Sergeant Tyler Justin Vargas Andrews, who was one of the 18 injured at the bombing of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kubal, Afganistan on Thursday, Aug. 27. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Winters community members and visitors may have noticed yellow ribbons tied to trees and poles along Main Street this last week.

Winters High School junior Lisa Garcia led efforts last week to hang up yellow ribbons in support of her cousin U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Tyler Justin Vargas Andrews, 23, who was one of the U.S. military service members injured after two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds attempting to flee at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan on Thursday, Aug. 27. In total, 13 U.S. service members were killed and 18 severely wounded in the bombing.

Garcia said she was inspired to bring the efforts to Winters after she joined an event organized by Warfight Overwatch in Folsom to cut and hang yellow ribbons around Folsom. She said she hopes the yellow ribbons will show Vargas Andrews that the community and his family in Winters is praying for him and are here to support him.

“When I went to Folsom I immediately thought I should tie ribbons in town to show support for Tyler,” Garcia said. “I hope the community will pray for Tyler and his family and to think of him whenever they see a tied yellow ribbon.”

Garcia who has been a member of the WHS student leadership team for three years and is the current Class of 2023 class treasurer approached Courtney Casavecchia, a teacher and Activities Director, about the project.

“Tying yellow ribbons has become a ubiquitous symbol of support for military personnel and I’m so proud of this student for organizing this event. I am incredibly honored to have been able to support her,” Casavecchia said.

Multiple events have been planned in his hometown of Folsom, Dixon and Vacaville since the bombing to help raise money for medical related expenses. 

Garcia said there is currently a GoFundMe campaign active to raise monies to help cover medical expenses that are not covered by the US military, any lodging for his family for the duration of his hospital stay and local recovery efforts.

As of publication, $318,249 had been raised of the $400,000 goal. Details for the campaign can be found online at https://gofund.me/bfc4eff2.

His mother Tiffany Andrews, of Folsom, attended WHS for some time before transferring, and his father Noel Vargas, of Vacaville, also attended WHS.

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