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todayMarch 31, 2022

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Native enterprise house owners and neighborhood members gathered in Eureka on a latest Friday to offer an outdated truck new life and an Military veteran a hand up whereas celebrating the legacy of an Arcata-born veteran.

In an effort known as “Venture Jumpstart,” High quality Physique Works partnered with different Humboldt County companies to revive a donated automobile for a neighborhood veteran. On March 25, the workforce gifted the pink Ford pickup truck to 38-year-old Military veteran Robert Raibley in honor of the automobile’s earlier proprietor, Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Ebbert, who was killed within the line of responsibility in Afghanistan.

The small ceremony, hosted by Humboldt Heroes, was held underneath a sunny Eureka sky in entrance of Scott Hammond’s State Farm Insurance coverage Company. Raibley was accompanied by his fiancé and Clifford LaMastus, the Veterans Enrollment and Transition Providers (VETS) coordinator at Cal Poly Humboldt, who nominated Raibley to obtain the truck.

“I put Rob in for this as a result of I perceive the experiences he has been via,” LaMastus mentioned. “We share related experiences and I do know the hardships he is needed to cope with over time up till now. Seeing a few of his struggles and accomplishments whereas being up at Humboldt is inspiring to different college students and to myself. The entire VETS program workforce up there’s pleased with him.”

Raibley served within the Military from 2002 to 2012 as an airborne infantryman and an Honor Guard soldier at Arlington Cemetery. He deployed twice to Iraq and as soon as to Afghanistan. Following his decade-long navy profession, he labored for Schlumberger, cementing casing into oil wells in Texas.

“It was a great job — a extremely good paying job — however it simply wasn’t for me so I made a decision to return to highschool,” he mentioned.

Raibley obtained a bachelor’s diploma in geology at Humboldt State College and is at the moment pursuing a level in pure assets at Cal Poly Humboldt whereas engaged on a challenge with Inexperienced Diamond Useful resource Co. His objective is to in the future land a federal forest or pure assets administration place.

“Being within the woods is type of like my reset and what I must heal, in a way, from the previous. And being in forestry, you get to have a truck and your canine can go to work with you every single day,” he added with fun.

Along with his research, Raibley works within the VETS workplace and helps plan journeys for its out of doors program. Raibley took the truck to class after the ceremony and mentioned he deliberate to make use of it to take his golden retriever as much as Horse Mountain over the weekend.

Charlie Jordan, Ebbert’s mom, who co-owns Kinetic Koffee in Arcata, handed the truck’s keys over to Raibley on the ceremony — a gesture that drew tears from each the donor and recipient.

“It’s totally overwhelming,” Raibley mentioned. “It is a onerous factor to take a fallen brother’s truck and to just accept it, however it’s very honoring.”

Ebbert was a neighborhood boy. He grew up in Arcata and graduated from Arcata Excessive College. He beloved backpacking and taking part in music — a lot in order that he left city to attend the College of California at Santa Cruz and graduated with honors in music composition.

“He simply beloved good music,” Jordan mentioned in an earlier interview with the North Coast Journal. “He had just about each type of guitar you may think about.”

Ebbert was accepted to 2 universities for a grasp’s program however insisted on following within the footsteps of his father and uncle, who have been Navy SEALs. He was skilled as a medic, reaching the extent of doctor’s assistant as a SEAL, and earned a Bronze Star with Valor for saving his teammates throughout his first deployment. He had desires of turning into a physician after his service.

However these desires have been minimize quick when Ebbert died within the line of responsibility throughout a stability operation in Afghanistan on Nov. 24, 2012. In response to Humboldt Heroes, Ebbert saved many lives throughout his two deployments and “repeatedly bumped into hearth to drag to security or work on males that had been injured.” Throughout his first deployment, he arrange a medical clinic for locals.

On his second deployment, in line with Humboldt Heroes, Ebbert’s unit was ambushed. As a radioman, Ebbert stepped from the relative security of canopy to transmit radio coordinates for air assist.

“It was then that he was hit by a sniper,” a Humboldt Heroes press launch states. “The firefight continued however Kevin had been profitable in getting the placement of his males again to base the place air and floor assist have been in a position to extract all with out additional lack of life.”

Now, 9 years after his demise, Jordan let go of the truck. She mentioned it is what Ebbert would have needed.

“The truck occurring to do good for others is great and it does not take away or does not change the truth that Kevin is gone and it does not take away from his reminiscence,” Jordan mentioned. “It really provides to his reminiscence and his legacy.”

She additionally mentioned letting go of the truck has allowed her to course of a few of her grief.

“If you lose any person, you do not make any new reminiscences with them,” Jordan mentioned. “You aren’t getting to have an ongoing, in-person relationship, so that you create reminiscences in several methods — and this can be a new reminiscence. It is persevering with the connection with Kevin as a result of he is not right here to [donate the car himself], so we’ll do it on his behalf and I do not know that you are able to do any higher than that on this state of affairs.”

The truck was Ebbert’s first automobile, Jordan mentioned, including that her son wasn’t very hooked up to materials issues. He insisted on having one thing practical — ideally a stick-shift. The truck remained together with his widow for a while earlier than she provided to move it on to Jordan.

Jordan, who enjoys engaged on vehicles, initially had visions of refurbishing the truck herself, so considered one of Ebbert’s closest roommates and Navy SEAL teammates drove the truck to Jordan from West Virginia. However when COVID-19 hit, Jordan mentioned she wasn’t in a position to make the repairs and drive the truck as a lot as she had hoped.

“It simply weighed on me, that it is not what Kevin would need,” she mentioned. “He would need it used.”

She met Ross Creech, proprietor of High quality Physique Works, after considered one of Kinetic Koffee’s autos was vandalized. As the 2 talked concerning the work that wanted to be performed, Creech instructed her about Venture Jumpstart’s donation program and Jordan mentioned the mission “instantly resonated” together with her.

This, she knew, was the truck’s objective.

“This truck on this challenge, and this storyline, it type of acquired dropped into our laps,” Creech mentioned. “It is type of a kind of tales that simply offers you goosebumps and simply the truth that Charlie, Kevin’s mother, was prepared to and needed to donate the automobile and to work with us on it’s simply actually a humbling, humbling factor.”

In 2019, High quality Physique Works donated a 2006 Ford Focus to a recipient discovered via the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Basis. The physique store was gearing as much as donate an analogous automobile this upcoming 12 months till connecting with Jordan.

Creech needed to make sure the automobile’s new proprietor did not have to fret concerning the slew of prices that usually include automobile possession, so he enlisted the assistance of different Humboldt County companies to cut back the burden for the automobile’s new proprietor.

To that finish, Redwood Fuels (Shell) will present $50 gasoline present playing cards each month for the primary 12 months the brand new proprietor has the automobile, Premier Oil Change will present a 12 months’s value of oil modifications and Scott Hammond from State Farm Insurance coverage will present insurance coverage for six months, whereas ADS In Movement/Advance Show and Indicators will acknowledge all the companies that participated in Venture Jumpstart on the again of public buses, in line with Charles Edwards, the corporate’s co-founder. Edwards’ different firm, Stroop FX, was chargeable for advertising and marketing the challenge. HealthSport additionally provided a gymnasium membership and bought new tires for the truck.

“The concept was to not solely give a automobile away however to attempt to give any person a type of step ahead if one of many hurdles in getting their toes again underneath them was transportation,” Creech mentioned, including

there was “no hesitation” from companies when he approached them about getting concerned.

Buddy’s Towing in Eureka towed the automobile into High quality Physique Works and the workforce set to work, connecting with different companies to get the pickup into form. Goselin Transportation put in new tires, Leon’s Automobile Care Middle supplied an entire mechanical overhaul, S&H Autoglass changed the home windows and the truck acquired ending touches at High quality Physique Works.

Dale Warmuth, workplace supervisor for Leon’s Automobile Care Middle, mentioned his store put about $3,500 of labor into the truck, together with timing belt upkeep, a brand new battery and altering oil and fluids. Warmuth mentioned in addition they helped with the final automobile donation and have been prepared to assist once more subsequent 12 months.

“We’re blessed that we’re busy sufficient to make these contributions again to the neighborhood,” he mentioned.

Becca Blanc, who works at Bedliners Plus, which put in a brand new mattress liner value about $550, mentioned the enterprise may be very supportive of veterans and couldn’t say no when approached about serving to to get Ebbert’s automobile prepared for a brand new proprietor.

“It turned out very nice,” she mentioned. “It’s totally good of the woman to donate and good for everybody to kick in and assist out so another person can get one thing good out of it. … There’s nonetheless good individuals in Humboldt County.”

Carly Wipf (she/her) is a contract reporter based mostly in Eureka.

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