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Combat-wounded veteran gets new mortgage-free home in Federal Way
U.S. Army specialist Marcos Garcia was hunkered down in an Iraqi police station with other soldiers when he heard the first blast just outside of the perimeter wall.
But the second blast knocked him about 10 feet.
“I was mad,” Garcia, now age 30, recalled of when he was wounded in a mortar attack in 2007. “They had to hold me down. When I woke up - they thought I was dead - I crawled my way into the striker, into the driver’s hatch and tried to drive after them.”
Shrapnel from the attack injured his right leg, shoulder and his hand, which still has a fragment of a mortar shell lodged near his thumb.
Garcia’s recovery, both mentally and physically, has been “a long, long road,” he said. “If it wasn’t for all the people in my life helping me, I’d be one angry man.”
Some of those people surrounded the retired veteran on Monday morning, as Wells Fargo representatives handed him a key to his new mortgage-free home in Federal Way. Bank leaders joined the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) to congratulate Garcia on moving into his new three-bedroom condo on South 288th Street.
Wells Fargo, which created the program in 2012, donated 86 properties worth about $11.8 million to veterans through MWSF last year, said Jonathan Taylor, regional sales manager for Wells Fargo.
“It’s one of those things you get emotional about, these (soldiers) and what they’re doing,” Taylor said. “I’m happier today than I was after the Super Bowl.”
After Garcia received the key, Wells Fargo representatives gave him a tour of his new home that is furnished with new appliances.
“I’m so excited right now,” Garcia said as he stood in one of his bedrooms. “This is so amazing. I have no words for it really. I’ve never had anything like this given to me. I feel very privileged.”
Garcia, who was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, received a medical retirement in 2007 and was awarded the Purple Heart.
He still wears a brace on his right leg to help with the pain caused from a nerve injury sustained during the mortar attack. He said after some rehabilitation he can now go for a jog without being in too much pain, however his injuries still cause him some distress.
“When I get out of bed, I feel like an old man with all the cracking and popping,” Garcia noted.
He currently attends ITT Tech and is one semester away from achieving his bachelor’s degree in information systems security.
He looks forward to moving from his 1,000-square-foot duplex in Puyallup to Federal Way, where he will be closer to his friends and mentors.
The Military Warriors Support Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support for wounded heroes as they transition out of the military and into their new civilian life. Through their Homes4WoundedHeroes Program, they donate 100 percent mortgage-free homes to combat-wounded heroes, and their families, who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to the home, the families will receive three years of family and financial mentoring. For more information, visit MilitaryWarriors.org.