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Dream turns to reality for Suisun City Marine

By From page A8 | June 22, 2014

The American dream for the family of U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jacinto Bernardo took on new meaning this week when Bernardo arrived at his new Suisun City home after deployment in Japan and saw the fruits of $70,000 worth of labor and renovations.

The Alcazar Court house was repainted. New floors were installed. The landscaping was spruced up, with a new backyard planted.

It was a gift – Marine to Marine – with others brought into the mix to make the dream a reality.

Jeremy Epperson served with Bernardo, 40, in the Marine Corps. The Bernardo family bought the home as a place to retire – Bernadro’s last day as an active-duty Marine is Aug. 31, after which he will embark on a second career. But the house needed some TLC.

That’s where Epperson stepped in. He rounded up volunteers and backers to turn the place into the Bernardo family’s dream home. Work was coordinated so everything would be in place when Bernardo arrived home from his stint in Okinawa. That was Tuesday.

Bernardo is a combat veteran who served in Iraq. He broke down briefly Tuesday when he saw what his fellow Marine had arranged for the Bernardo family. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I have better bearing than this.” In true Marine Corps fashion, he spoke about how others are more deserving of such a gift. He spoke of those who never came home from their service to our country, and those who came home wounded in mind or body.

Major donors were Jelly Belly, Dallas Automotive, Signature Flight Support – where Epperson works, Everest Fuel and Sonoma Jet Center. The effort was handled through the Jimmy Doolittle Center Foundation.

Tuesday’s event gave a public glimpse of the mostly behind-the-scenes work of the foundation, which along with its supporters is moving ahead with plans for a new Jimmy Doolittle Center next to the Nut Tree Airport, to replace the museum at Travis Air Force Base.

The vision includes a 21-acre project with an air museum, air park, restoration and education center and multiple-use facility – with 100,000 square feet of hangar space, 50,000 square feet for artifacts and a theater, and a 10,000-square-foot lobby. Also in the works would be a hotel and restaurant.

It’s great to see the foundation getting involved with projects such as this, even while working to raise millions of dollars for the Vacaville project. It’s also great to see others get involved to help make a Marine’s transition from active duty to retirement and a civilian career that much easier for him and his family.

Kudos to all involved. To Master Sgt. Bernardo we add, thank you for your service.


Discussion | 1 comment

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  • JeremyJune 22, 2014 - 2:46 pm

    I truly appreciate the local and national attention this story has received. We didn't do it for this, we did it because it is the right thing to do. Perhaps motivate another group or individual to help their neighbor. Please accept my sincere thanks for covering this. We really appreciate it.

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