SUISUN CITY (KCBS)— U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Jack Bernardo came home from the airport with his wife and two teenaged daughters and was reduced to tears when he saw what the community had done to his fixer upper home he purchased six months ago.
The veteran who’s seen combat in the Iraq War and has spent the last seven years in Okinawa, Japan with his family returned home to Suisun City Tuesday. He was speechless when he found the home that was extremely rundown had been completely remodeled.
The local community and Purple Heart veterans did the work themselves to give the humbled hero a welcome home.
“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.
It was friend— fellow vet and Purple Heart recipient, Jeremy Epperson, who planned the surprise after being asked by Bernardo to check in on the home he bought in December until he returned.
“I came here the first time and I felt horrible about the way the house looked and a 21-year-veteran coming back to a major fixer upper,” Epperson said.
Through Fairfield’s Jimmy Doolittle Center at Travis Air Force Base, Epperson raised $20,000 in cash and more than double that in donated labor to put in new flooring, carpet, cabinets and completely redid the wiring. They also repainted and re-landscaped.
“We did everything in 10 days,” said Epperson.
Bernardo said it’s still sinking in what was done for him. “It’s just too much. I just don’t think I deserve this at all.”