SUISUN CITY, Calif — (KTVU) Newly retired Marine Jack Bernardo returned to California with his family from Okinawa, Japan on Tuesday after serving the United States for 21 years. In advance of his retirement, Bernardo and his family bought a house that needed a lot of work, but a surprise was in store for him when he saw it on Tuesday.
FOX affiliate KTVU reports a friend and former fellow Marine, Jeremy Epperson, was asked by Bernardo to look after the house until he got back to the states with his family. Epperson looked after the house, but did a whole lot more as well.
“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,” Epperson told KTVU.
KTVU reports that in a span of 10 days Epperson, with the help of contractors and volunteers, painted the house, installed new flooring, fixed up the kitchen and landscaped the outside. Bernardo told KTVU he didn’t think he deserved it, but said it appeared his country had given something back to him.
“Twenty-one years I gave serving our country, and if I had 21 more years to give, I would. Because I love this country,” Bernardo told reporters assembled outside his new home.
He had saved up a lot of money for the repairs, but can now focus on funding his daughters’ college tuition as both are going to attend Sacramento State University next fall. KTVU also reports that Suisun City’s mayor declared June 17, 2014 as “Master Sgt. Jack Bernardo Day”.