A California-based retired soldier was welcomed with with a completely renovated home after serving 21-years in the United States Marine Corps, reports KTVU.
Master Sgt. Jacinto “Jack” Bernardo had been serving the United States for over two decades when he decided that it was time to retire. Stationed in Japan, Bernardo began his trek home last week to a home in Suisun City, California that needed quite a bit of repairs.
Purchasing the home in January, Bernardo’s daughters had their doubts regarding their Dad’s decision to purchase fixer-upper.
“At first I was like ‘are you sure you guys want this house,'” said daughter, Jessica.
Moving forward with the home, Bernardo and his family had to ship back out to where he was stationed in Japan before they were able to begin working on the home.
Asking his friend, Jeremy Epperson, to keep an eye on the home while he was away, he left knowing he had some projects to tackle after retirement.
However, Epperson had other plans in mind.
“I didn’t think it was right for a person who retired, given 21 years and 50 percent of their pay to come back and spend every cent that they saved on fixing up a home,” he said.
“He’s a pretty emotional guy, so he’s… I imagine there will be a lot of tears,” added Epperson.
And so, Epperson and numeorus contractors began work on Bernardo’s home ten days prior to his arrival.
Completely renovating the home inside and out, the newly retired Marine didn’t even recognize the home upon his arrival.
Brought to tears immediately, Master Sgt. Bernardo couldn’t believe that this had been done for him.
“I don’t deserve this,” he said with tears in his eyes.
“21 years I gave serving our country, and if I had 21 more years to give, I would. Because I love this country,” Bernardo told KTVU reporters, trying to hold back his emotions.
“It looks like the country gave back to you a little bit here,” replied one reporter.
“Yes,” he responded. “That’s why I’m not expecting it, because I don’t really think I deserve it. Those guys that didn’t make it in one piece, they deserve this, not me,” Bernardo continued in tears.
“Living in base housing and living in places where a lot of people don’t want to live in [and] to come to this. That’s why I’m overwhelmed,” he said to CBS.
Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez also presented Master Sgt. Bernardo with a proclamation, declaring June 17th, 2014 as Master Sgt. Jack Bernardo Day.
These uplifting stories are always encouraging to hear and it is always an amazing thing to see when a community takes care of their soldiers.
Be sure to check out this heart warming homecoming for a soldier that surprised his daughter at a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game!