US Marine Jack Bernardo and his wife bought a little fixer-upper house in January, a few months ahead of his retirement from the Corps. They had spent 20 years serving overseas, and were returning from Okinawa, Japan to Suisun City, CA to retire.
The house obviously needed a lot of work when the Bernardos bought it. Their daughter, Jessica, even said “At first I was like, are you sure you guys want this house?”
Bernardo asked a friend, Jeremy Epperson, to keep an eye on the house while the family wrapped up service in Japan. Epperson did a little more than that.
“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.
So in just ten days, Epperson, the Jimmy Doolittle Center, and numerous contractors and volunteers painted, installed new floors, redid the kitchen, and landscaped the property.
Reporter John Sasaki said to Bernardo, “It looks like the country gave back to you a little bit here.” “Yes,” he responded. “That’s why I’m not expecting it, because I don’t really think I deserve it.”
Suisun City’s mayor, Pete Sanchez dropped by the home to present a proclamation to Bernardo and declare June 17th, 2014 as Master Sgt. Jack Bernardo Day.
Bernardo says others are more deserving, “Those guys that didn’t make it in one piece, they deserve this, not me.”
Sgt Bernardo had saved up to fix the house. Now he says he’ll use that money to help get his two daughters through college.
WSB-TV in Atlanta has video of the story.