BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — A disabled veteran from Broken Arrow went from fighting overseas to fighting COVID-19 as a nurse practitioner. He shares his journey to a Purple Heart.
“I just remember a sudden flash of light and disorientation,” Todd Kirkland said.
14 years ago, Staff Sergeant Kirkland was riding down a dirt road in Iraq inside a military truck during the middle of the night.
“I didn’t remember much,” Kirkland said. “I believe I was unconscious.”
The convoy was bombed and Kirkland is scarred for life.
“Ended up telling me I had what looked like a traumatic brain injury with a seizure disorder, migraines, some vertigo and a few other symptoms,” Kirkland said.
Following the diagnosis, his paperwork, documenting the injury, was submitted in application for the Purple Heart.
“And I’m not sure what happened with it from there. I never heard back on it,” Kirkland recalled.
After moving on with his life, Kirkland is now on the front line of the Tulsa COVID-19 response. To ease the stress, his wife, Danielle, thought she would find out how to finally get him the recognition they feel he never received.
“Every year around Veteran’s Day, I try to think of what I can do to say ‘thank you,' to encourage him,” Danielle said. “This year, it just kind of all clicked. I should find out what happened with that Purple Heart.”
Danielle emailed 2 Works for You and got the attention of Senator Jim Inhofe's office. 2 Works for You also reached out to Representative Kevin Hern’s office and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Both agreed to help the Kirklands reapply for the honor.
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