Fox 17 Nashville --
Last week, a retiring U.S. Marine got the surprise of his life " and a fitting one for a 21-year military veteran.
Master Sergeant Jacinto Bernardo, an Iraq war veteran who recently retired after serving 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, asked his old Marine buddy Jeremy Epperson to watch his new home in Suisun, Calif., while he was stationed in Japan with his family. The home was a major fixer-upper because it was all the Bernardo family could afford.
Epperson gladly agreed to watch his Marine brother's home, though he had much bigger plans in mind.
While Bernardo was away, Epperson raised money and support to do roughly $70,000 in renovations to the Marines house. Hes named the renovation program Homecoming Heroes.
When Bernardo and his family finally made it home last week, a limo was waiting for them at the airport. The limo then took them to their new home, no longer a fixer-upper. Epperson said no retiring U.S. Marine should have to return to a home that is such a mess.
Bernardo teared up while talking to a local news station about the astonishing surprise. We are proud of our service, the teary-eyed Marine said. Those guys that didnt make it back and those guys that didnt make it in one piece, they deserve this, not me.