Shawn Burke, US Army
2023 Recipient
  • Shawn was born and raised in Lincoln, NE where he now lives with his wife and children.

  • Shawn joined the Army in 2006, went to Basic at Fort Benning then to Fort Lewis where he was assigned to Bravo Company 1-17inf. He was selected to become his squad's driver and trained how to operate and maintain his Stryker.

  • He was deployed to the Arghandab River in Kandahar, Afghanistan in July of 2009 being the firts Stryker unit in Afghanistan and the first Americans in that area. It was previously patrolled by Canadians. They were tasked with clearing the orchards and guarding the polling stations during the elections.

  • On the morning of September 18th his Stryker and one other was tasked with getting supplies from their company patrol base for his Platoon COP. As they were enroute his vehicle ran over a pressure plate IED and exploded directly under his seat. The blast came through the hull on a weld that his leg was resting on. His crew was able to pull him from the driver's seat while he attempted to apply hhis tourniquet. His left leg was severely injured in the blast. He was medivacced to Kandahar airfield where he was stabilized and sent to Germany where he underwent more surgeries and then flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. His doctors gave him the choice of trying to salvage his leg or have it amputated. He decided to try and salvage his leg but ultimately it could not be saved and chose to have it amputated. He spent two years living at Walter Reed healing and learning how to live and thrive with his injuries.

  • His dad gave him a Harley-Davidson the day he was born and started riding as a kid on dirt bikes until he got his license and was able to ride his H-D. One of his fond memories is riding to Milwaukee for Harley-Davidson's 100th anniversary with his dad.