Staff Sergeant Courtney P., USMC (Ret.)

September 12, 2014

Staff Sergeant Courtney "Corey" Petersen (Ret.) was injured in 2007, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. During her month-long stay in intensive care, The Semper Fi Fund assisted Corey's husband to ensure that he had the resources needed to care for his wife.

"Sometimes you can do everything right, plan, take safety precautions, and accidents will still happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Protected: Sergeant Nora Mund: “I’m Excited To Take Life On”

September 7, 2014

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Corporal Jose A., USMC, (Ret.)

afghan 3
September 4, 2014

Born in Los Angeles and currently living in a suburb of San Diego, Marine Corporal Jose A. always wanted to join the military.

“My grandfather served in the Army,” he said. “I grew up with him talking about that, and it really interested me. As I got older, I saw that the Marine Corps was the most challenging branch, so I enlisted right out of high school.”

“I wanted to do something I could be proud of,” Jose continues. “I couldn't think of anything better than the Marine Corps: It represented honor and courage, and that's what I wanted.” Read the rest of this entry »

Marine Master Sergeant John Hayes: “My injury has taught me what is important about life.”

John Hayes track chair with girls
September 1, 2014

“My wife was an expert in all things Semper Fi Fund before I even gained consciousness,” says Master Sergeant John Hayes, referring to his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in early 2011. “The Semper Fi Fund, with support from the Home Depot Foundation, has done more for me than anyone else.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sergeant Liam D., USMC (Ret.) – “I Will Drive Again”

Liam Dwyer and Tom Long on Lime Rock Podium
August 22, 2014

In mid-2011, Marine Staff Sgt. Liam D was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He was recovering from a May 22 IED blast in Afghanistan that claimed his left leg, and among the many thoughts that raced through his mind was this one:

“I will drive again—and I will win.”

Three years later—almost to the day—Liam did indeed win, Read the rest of this entry »

Lance Corporal Jacob S., USMC (Ret.)

August 13, 2014

“Any Marine who comes home in one piece makes me the happiest person in the world”

Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and raised in Blythe, California, Jacob grew up like most kids: He was into sports, playing football and baseball with his friends and football and wrestling when he got to high school.

“I enlisted in the Marine Corps halfway through my senior year of high school,” Jacob said. “I always knew I would go into the military because I didn’t have the desire to go to college. I joined the Marine Corps mainly, though, because my father said I couldn’t and his brother was a Marine. Now my brother is becoming a Marine—and my dad is the odd man out, being in the Army!”

Jacob was assigned to 3rd Battalion 7th Marines based out of Twentynine Palms, California. In 2011, he deployed to Sangin, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, described in 2010 by British newspaper The Guardian as "the deadliest area in Afghanistan." Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Army Ranger, 1LT Nathan R., USA (Ret.)

July 21, 2014

“I still don’t feel like I did that much,” Nathan told the Midtown Raleigh News in 2013, “but everyone keeps saying that I did. So, I’m starting to believe them, I guess.”

What Nathan did, of course, was what thousands of service members in all branches of the military do each and every year for all Americans: He placed his life on the line and made a personal and physical sacrifice the depths of which most of us can scarcely imagine. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporal Josue Barron, USMC (Ret.)

July 7, 2014

Growing up in Los Angeles, Josue was the middle child of seven kids being raised by a single mother. He played a lot of street basketball and got involved in the L.A. gang scene.

“I started in the gangs when I was 14,” Josue recalls. “By the time I was 17, I had done so much, I was tired of it. Most of the gang members were getting nowhere, and as I was getting older, I saw that was not the life I wanted to live. I wanted to change Read the rest of this entry »

Sergeant Winder Perez, USMC

LCpl. Perez in the hospital with family and President Obama.
June 23, 2014

The New York Daily News called it a “miracle recovery.” That’s probably an understatement … but we’re getting ahead of the story.

Winder Perez was born on January 16, 1989, in the Dominican Republic. When he was eight years old, his mother left her life and career as a doctor behind and brought Winder to the U.S. so they could live with his father in the Bronx, New York. Read the rest of this entry »

Staff Sergeant Andy Robinson, USMC (Ret.)

May 15, 2014


“Military life changes a person,” says Andy Robinson. “Combat changes a person.”

Andy, a Marine Staff Sergeant who served with the 1st Intelligence Battalion based out of Camp Pendleton in San Diego,California, was changed by combat in some of the most profound ways imaginable. He was on patrol in al-Anbar Province in Iraq on June 20, 2006, when insurgents detonated an improvised explosive device beneath his truck. Read the rest of this entry »

Sergeant Chris Fesmire, USMC (Ret.)

May 15, 2014

Born and raised in a Philadelphia suburb, Chris had just left Penn State when he decided to join the Marines. “I wanted to get out and see the world,” he said. “I wanted some excitement and adventure.”

On October 10, 2004, Chris was on security patrol in the al-Anbar Province of Iraq. It was his fourth deployment. The Humvee he was in hit an anti-tank mine and claimed both his legs. Read the rest of this entry »

HM3 Joe-Dan “Doc” Worley, USN (Ret.)

May 15, 2014

Joe-Dan enlisted in March 2003 about a year-and-a-half after getting married. He turned 22 during basic training and deployed to Fallujah in Iraq on March 1, 2004. On September 17, 2004, he stepped on an IED while running to help others in his convoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Captain Chris Ayres, USMC (Ret.)

May 15, 2014

Chris enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1995. Nearly a decadelater, in April 2004, a
rocket grenade attack in Fallujah nearly claimed his life. Shortly thereafter, at 34 years of age, he became the very first beneficiary of assistance from the Semper Fi Fund. Read the rest of this entry »

Staff Sergeant Octavio Sanchez, USMC (Ret.)

May 15, 2014

Growing up in Fontana, California (east of Los Angeles), Octavio was intrigued by service professionals such as police officers, firefighters and military.

He enlisted in August 1998 after graduating high school, and re-enlisted in 2001.

On June 16, 2005, during his first combat deployment (to Ramadi in Iraq), Octavio was trapped inside a burning vehicle following an IED blast and suffered third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body. Read the rest of this entry »

Lance Corporal Robert “Drew” Mendez, USMC

Mendez.Andrew.Robert. service dogcali pic
April 13, 2014

The first time Drew saw an example of the brotherhood of the Marine Corps, he was about 8 or 9 years old in his home town of Kingsville, Texas, just south of Corpus Christi.

“I was raised by my grandparents,” Drew recalls, “and they owned a bar. I used to go over there a lot in the summers, count the quarters from the pool table, help clean up, that sort of thing. My grandpa served in Korea, he was a member of the 1st Marine Division, and he used to wear a 1st Marine Division hat. Read the rest of this entry »