During his first deployment to Iraq in 2004, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant David Marino was part of an effort to evacuate wounded Marines when an improvised explosive device detonated. The weapon’s secondary blast threw him to the ground and knocked him unconscious.
During his second deployment to the battlefield in 2005, he fell into a ravine aggravating wounds he had previously sustained to his knee and back.
In the years after his deployments, David was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Despite his injuries, he wanted to continue to serve. He was accepted to the Combat Wounded Warrior Program Expanded Permanent Limited Duty. The new assignment allowed David to remain on duty not just as a Marine, but as an integral part of the team that helped wounded Marines and their families recover from wartime injuries.
His dreams of continuing to serve, however, were cut short in 2011 when doctors discovered David was suffering from testicular cancer. David was fatigued. His PTSD symptoms increased. He found it difficult to cope with the pain and stress of life. “It was time to pack it in,” he said.
Hour-long trips to San Diego for his medical treatments drained their pocketbook as the price of gas skyrocketed. He and his wife, Laura, made plans to move home to Maine, but were quickly sinking under the financial and emotional strains of his illness. The national mortgage crisis made it impossible to sell their California home. No longer able to afford the mortgage payments, the couple resorted to finding renters to occupy the property. The couple also coped with the added stress of caring for David’s father, a World War II veteran. The newlyweds struggled to build a healthy marriage.
Operation Homefront gave the couple a stress-free home where David could heal and they could plan for their future.
“Operation Homefront eases the burden,” David said.
At the Village, the couple has the help of financial and marriage counselors to help them deal with their recent difficulties. They are now focused on selling their house, paying down debt and preparing for their move to Maine next year.
“We are so blessed and thankful,” David said. “Operation Homefront relieves the unknown burden. “The Marines is all I have ever known since I was 17. Transitioning is so scary. This is an honorable charity,” he said.