Master Sergeant Jacinto Bernardo returned from a trip to Japan with his family, but was astonished as they pulled up to the driveway.
After twenty-one years of moving from place to place and living in military housing, they were finally able to purchase a house of their very own. But with limited income, they purchased the only home that they could afford; a fixer-upper that would need countless hours and investments to improve. While away, he had asked a fellow retired Marine to look after the home for him.
Fixtures were old and rotting away, the carpet was ancient, the flooring was chipped, and the yard was going to take a lot of work to clear up. His friend thought that Bernardo deserved so much better.When Bernardo returned, he didn’t even recognize the property.
Dozens of companies and strangers donated time and resources to make this retired veteran feel welcomed. There are many programs for wounded veterans, but there aren’t as many programs for retired veterans, his friend said. It prompted his community to make this big gesture, and Bernardo couldn’t believe it.
We’re proud of our service,” Master Sgt. Bernardo said. “And you know, those guys who didn’t make it back, and those guys that didn’t make it back in one piece, they deserve this not me.”
After raising enough money and gathering the new fixtures and appliances, the entire renovation only took volunteers 10 days to complete.