A Marine combat veteran returned to California from serving overseas to a completely remodeled home, thanks to the help of some friends and generous donors.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jacinto Bernardo, 40, said on Tuesday, when he arrived at the refurbished house in Suisun City, California. “I’m just soaking it in right now.”
According to the Daily Republic, an estimated $70,000 in renovations — including interior and exterior painting, landscaping, flooring, walls, cabinets and granite countertops — were donated by several Bay Area businesses and the Jimmy Doolittle Center through its Homecoming Heroes program.
“It’s perfect,” Bernardo told the paper. “Perfect.”
The 21-year veteran, his wife and two daughters had been stationed for the last seven in Okinawa, Japan. They bought the house as a fixer-upper in January.
“We chose it because it was the only thing we can afford," his wife, Julie, told KGO-TV.
Bernardo said he was humbled by the gesture, which included a hero's welcome from the Suisun City mayor.
“Those guys who didn’t make it back and those who didn’t make it in one piece — they deserve this and not me," he said.
His last official day with the Marine Corps is Aug. 31.
“We’re not going to move anymore," Bernardo added. "Not after so many years of moving around."