The same man who says that after serving three tours of duty in heavy combat zones, you learn to hide your feelings, was all smiles when he got the keys to his new home. "This is the symbol of my healing. This really is. This is a straight kick to the butt. Hey, you know what? Things are good now," he said. United States Marine veteran Sgt. Brandon Del Fiorentino, a former scout sniper instructor, has embarked on a new mission.
After three tours of combat duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the last leaving him severely injured and earning him a purple heart for a severe head injury caused by an IED blast, has been given keys to a new life and a new home. He's already calling the garage his favorite room. "This is where I'm going to be situated working on my truck, working on the cars, getting hold of my buddies, hanging out and talking about everyday life," he said.
Getting to this point has been a tough row to hoe. Brandon says the only way to survive in combat is to remember what's waiting for you at home, family. "When you're getting shot at regularly and blown up, the one thing that your think about most, when you have the time, is your family and that white picket fence that someday, you're going to get," he said.
Brandon and his family received the Antioch house through Bank of America and the Military Warriors Support Foundation. In order to qualify, you cannot have a current mortgage, you must be honorably discharged, and you must be a veteran wounded in combat.
And, the program is also beneficial to Bank of America. By donating the property, it allows them to write off the loss and at the same time, move empty or abandoned homes off the market. "Our goal is to revitalize communities. So, the best way to do that is to bring families into neighborhoods," Bank of America's Tiarzha Taylor said.
There is no white picket fence but instead, a bed of roses surrounds the newly-renovated, 2,700 square feet, 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home, Brandon's new sanctuary far away from the battlefield. "This is going to be my man cave," Brandon said.
The Military Warrior Support Foundation also provides financial mentoring as part of their program. Click here to learn more.