Tuesday, March 3, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Marine comes home to surprise in Suisun City

homecoming hero_returning marine 6_17_14

Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jacinto Bernardo, just home from serving in Okinawa, Japan, walks through his newly refurbished home in Suisun City, Tuesday. Bernardo's home was refurbished with help from the Jimmy Doolittle Center Foundation and other donors. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | June 18, 2014 |

SUISUN CITY — The family of Jacinto Bernardo told the master sergeant in the United States Marine Corps a surprise awaited him Tuesday at their new home.

What he saw in Suisun City brought tears to the eyes of the 40-year-old Bernardo.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I have better bearing than this.”

“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Bernardo said. “I’m just soaking it in right now.”

The Jimmy Doolittle Center in Fairfield; Jeremy Epperson, who served with Bernardo in the Marines; and several sponsors had the house repainted along with new landscaping and new floors added at the Alcazar Court home.

“It’s perfect,” Bernardo said. “Perfect.”

The $70,000 in labor and materials included trimming a palm tree and adding a lawn in the backyard that had been a mix of waist-high weeds and dead grass.

Bernardo’s wife Julie said the Suisun City house was one the family could afford in the Bay Area after living in Okinawa, Japan.

Jacinto Bernardo stood in front of a half-dozen TV news cameras and spoke about other Marines.

“Those guys who didn’t make it back and those who didn’t make it in one piece,” he said, “They deserve this and not me.”

Bernardo, a Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq, said he is humbled by the improvements to the family’s new home.

Brian McInerney, CEO of the Doolittle Center, said the house was a prime candidate for renovation.

“It was tired,” McInerney said of the site.

Major donors were Jelly Belly, Dallas Automotive, Signature Flight Support – where Epperson works – Everest Fuel and Sonoma Jet Center.

Ken Howe, who works for Jelly Belly owner Herm Rowland, said the landscaping crew was able to complete the work in a week. Louis Latini, foreman for Valley Professional Painting in Vacaville, said the exterior work took 2 1/2 days.

“It was a great honor to give back to those who’ve given so much to us,” Latini said.

Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez presented Bernardo with a proclamation noting the new resident served with honor and distinction in the Marines, declaring Tuesday “Master Sergeant Jack Bernardo Day” and welcoming him to the city. Sgt. Michael Obado, a Marine recruiter in Fairfield, came to the Alcazar Court home to welcome Bernardo as well.

Bernardo’s last official day in the Marine Corps is Aug. 31. He’ll start work with Comcast as a construction specialist.

Across the street, Tito Carranza, 48, whose stepson serves in the Marines, thanked Bernardo and all veterans for their service.

“That’s a very cool thing,” Carranza said of the improvements to the house.

Bernardo stood in his new home Tuesday, spoke about how he and his family aren’t going to be moving anymore and marveled about all the work done to the house.

“Things like this,” he said, “I see on TV.”

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 13 comments

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  • LindaJune 17, 2014 - 6:40 pm

    You so rightly deserve this. Thanks for serving.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RyanJune 18, 2014 - 5:34 am

    Welcome home, top!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • HmmmJune 18, 2014 - 7:32 am

    Why was this person chosen for this? it's nice that it was done, but there's no mention of what the Jimmy Dolittle Center does, why they made these improvements to this house, why this Marine was chosen out of any other Marines or Service Members in the Bay Area. I'm curious how this all came about. I mean, we have a base right up the street and many many service members living in this county, stationed in this county, not moving here from Japan, so again I'd like to know what the reason for this was. Will any other Vets be helped? Why are there no pictures of the improvements that were made? You wrote an article and left out the pertinent information. Pictures of people with cameras is not showing us what 70k was spent on, or what the Marine is crying about. Do better.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LorrieJune 18, 2014 - 11:47 am

    This Marine was chosen because his good friend and fellow Marine, who organized the whole thing, chose him. Jeremy Epperson is also a retired Marine and rounded up finances, volunteers and his own hard work to make this happen. It was an awesome project. Thanks to Master Sgt Bernardo for his long service to our country! OOHRAH!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BeeboJune 18, 2014 - 12:30 pm

    Hmmm - I agree 100% with your questions and concerns. It would be nice to know exactly why this took place. Also, I think I could have come in a lot cheaper with new paint, flooring and landscaping.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LorrieJune 18, 2014 - 1:09 pm

    I find it odd that people have "concerns" about how other people spend private money and their own time. I guess some folks will find anything to complain about.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TimmyJune 18, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    Wow really guys?? Did you guys not watch the whole video? Like Lorrie mentioned his good friend set it all up for him and spent their own time and money doing it so what do you care how 70k was spent! And hes crying because he mentioned in the video that he doesnt deserve it but the men and women who lost their lives and didnt make it home in one piece deserve it more!! Stop complaining about a good story and just thank him for his 21 years of service and protecting your freedom that youve enjoyed while youve been comfortably sitting at home whining about other peoples affairs!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • archieJune 18, 2014 - 6:34 pm

    you tell the Lorrie,,,,,,,,, I agree

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • slimmswifeyJune 19, 2014 - 7:12 am

    Both of you (@Hmmm and @Beebo) need to shut the he** up.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ronaldo valmoresJune 29, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    you must not have any idea how it is to be in the Military

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Brenda VJune 18, 2014 - 10:18 am

    Thank you for fighting for your country so proudly!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 18, 2014 - 11:19 am

    this story was pickup on on a San Francisco radio station,

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lilia Sedano Dardon (@LiliasTweets)June 20, 2014 - 7:52 pm

    Hey, this was my husband's home for 17 years! Mine after I married for 9. We turned it into a rental and put lots of money into it and it then went into a short sale through GMAC and while it was in escrow to a disabled vet, GMAC took it and the vet lost out and so did we. Screw GMAC! How dare they put us through this. What about the disabled vet who was supposed to buy our home in the short sale? I am glad this vet got blessed but we got screwed and my husband's a pastor.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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