NorCal Marine comes home to big surprise

NorCal Marine Comes Home to Big Surprise
NorCal Marine Comes Home to Big Surprise

After more than two decades in the service -- most recently in Okinawa -- an area Marine was ready to retire to Northern California.

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He bought a house earlier this year, and it needed a lot of repairs. KCRA reports:

A limo ride home was the first clue that something was up for newly retired Marine Master Sgt. Jacinto Bernardo. It was clear that he was not ready for what he saw -- a home he bought in January, completely renovated inside and out.

"It's beautiful...I'm speechless," he said.

Bernardo, an Iraqi war vet, was overwhelmed with gratitude and humility:

"Those guys that didn't make it back ... and those guys that didn't make it in one piece. They deserve this ... not me.

It took several crews to pull this off in just ten days. The renovation included flooring, carpet, paint on the inside and out and new turf for the backyard.

Jeremy Epperson served with Bernardo, and he got donations in money and labor to make this happen. This fellow marine's mission was pretty clear cut:

"[To] give a retiring marine some place that he felt comfortable and proud to lay his head at night," Epperson said.

Bernardo's wife's reaction? "This is awesome! It's nice," she said.

The mayor of Suisun City even stopped by. "Welcome to my city," he said. He even declared Tuesday, June 17, 2014 as 'Jack Bernardo Day' -- the day a community came together to say 'thank you' and 'welcome home.'

"21 years I gave serving our country. If I had 21 more years to give, I would ... because I love this country," Bernardo said, holding back tears.

Bernardo had saved up some money to fix up the house, which he no longer has to do. It'll come in handy next year, though, when he'll have not just one, but two, daughters attending Sacramento State.