As we continue our 11 days, 11 stories series, we zero in on a brave Marine whose love to serve is unending. Even as a wounded warrior, he wanted to continue to remain on duty. The turns of life took him in some unexpected directions but we’re happy to report, he’s doing well.
During his first deployment to Iraq in 2004, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant David Marino was part of an effort to evacuate wounded Marines when an improvised explosive device detonated. The weapon’s secondary blast threw him to the ground, causing multiple injuries.
During his second deployment to the battlefield in 2005, he fell into a ravine aggravating wounds he had previously sustained. Despite his injuries, he wanted to continue to serve. He was granted Expanded Permanent Limited Duty status for Combat Wounded Marines. The new assignment allowed David to remain on duty not just as a Marine, but as an integral part of the team that helped wounded Marines and their families recover from wartime injuries.
His dreams of continuing to serve, however, were cut short in 2012 when he was medically retired due to his multiple injuries and illnesses.
Hour-long trips to San Diego for his medical treatments drained family finances as the price of gas skyrocketed. He and his wife, Laura, made plans to move back to his home in Maine, but were quickly sinking under the financial and emotional strains of his illness. The national mortgage crisis made it impossible to sell their California home. No longer able to afford the mortgage payments, the couple resorted to finding renters to occupy the property. The couple also coped with the added stress of caring for David’s father, a World War II veteran. The newlyweds struggled to build a healthy marriage.
David and Laura would eventually move into Operation Homefront’s Southern California Village, a rent-free apartment complex that would allow the family to focus on their future. After their stay at the village, the family was awarded a home through Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program.
“We are so blessed and thankful,” David said. “Operation Homefront and Chase have helped tremendously to ease the financial burden of rent or a mortgage and have made things a lot less stressful.”
To date, our Homes on the Homefront program has matched more than 200 homes with very deserving veteran families. And there are nearly 100 more homes in process. We are grateful to have partners like Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and recently, Meritage Homes, who join us in awarding mortgage-free homes to veterans.