Ashley and Stephen Lunt met on an airplane when Stephen was flying back to Japan for a deployment and Ashley was heading back to college. They made an instant connection on that flight and have been together ever since.
Stephen was born and raised in Charleston, S.C. and answered the call to serve in the Marine Corps in 2004. During his time in the service, he was stationed in Japan and at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and deployed three times, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
During his deployment to Afghanistan, he was forced to fight an insurgent in hand-to-hand combat. During the fight, the insurgent took a pickaxe to Stephen’s head which caused a great amount of internal damage, and resulted in multiple surgeries and a long and painful recovery. The injuries forced him to medically retire from service.
Ashley stood by him when he returned stateside. She encouraged and helped him through some of the hardest parts of his life. “I don’t know what I would have done without her,” Stephen said.
But Ashley has had her share of heartbreak as well. When they received word that they would likely never have a baby on their own, they were crushed. They resigned themselves to the idea of a childless future.
But something unexpected changed their future forever.
Operation Homefront provided them with a mortgage-free home in South Carolina. Because they no longer had to worry about paying for a roof over their heads, the Lunts were able to set aside the funds needed to undergo in-vitro fertilization and allowed Ashley to conceive her first child. In late 2013, they gave birth to a beautiful, healthy son.
“It really was a blessing for us. If it wasn’t for us getting this house and having that help, we would have never been able to have children,” Ashley said.
In addition to having a new child, Stephen has thrived in his new house. Not only is he closer to his family in South Carolina, but he has also been able to work hard through his recovery to channel his interests into a new career in hydroponic agriculture.
The Lunts were recently chosen to appear on a special military edition of the home makeover show, Designing Spaces. The opportunity was perfect for Ashley. “I majored in construction management in college, and I love to redesign and decorate,” Ashley said. They were excited not only by the improvement to their home but also by being involved in the remodeling process.
Hosted by R. Lee Ermey “The Gunny,” TV and screen actor, and former U.S. Marine Drill Instructor, “Designing Spaces of Hope – Military Makeover” will chronicle Stephen and Ashley’s story and the generous contributors who came together for their home renovation. Airing over three consecutive Fridays beginning this week (Nov. 21), the show appears on the Lifetime channel at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT.
Clearly, Ashley and Stephen have faced and overcome some large obstacles in their life. They may have met thousands of feet in the air, but their future clearly has a strong foundation on solid ground.
Operation Homefront is honored to be able to answer the call of our brave men and women in uniform when they need it the most. We are able to do so because of the amazing supporters who stand beside us. If you would like to help answer the call, join us at www.operationhomefront.net/answerthecall