Marine Gunnery Sergeant Guillermo A. Tejada: The Strength of a {Fund} Family

For Gunnery Sergeant Guillermo A. Tejada, there are five people who give him an unbreakable strength … his wife, Veronica, and their four beautiful children – Desiree, Guillermo Jr., Aracely, and David. They are five pieces of his heart, the loved ones who provided hope in hard times and a light that outshone any darkness.

At a young age, Guillermo fulfilled his lifelong dream of joining the military and faithfully served our country for 15 years. He deployed four times and lost both legs after being critically injured by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Afghanistan. When Guillermo arrived in the States six days later, Semper Fi & America’s Fund had already begun assisting Veronica as she awaited her husband’s arrival at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. From providing funding for his mother and sisters to join Veronica at his hospital bedside to supplying vehicle and adaptive housing grants when he returned home, The Fund remained by Guillermo’s side, always inspired by his unending optimism and deep courage. Even as this Marine faced incredible difficulties, he inspired countless individuals to never lose hope and never give up. 

But in Guillermo’s eyes, his wife and children have always been the heroes of this amazing story, their remarkable fortitude forged in adversity and deepened by unconditional love.

“I believe my kids have become strong for a multitude of reasons, to include some that were just dropped on their laps unwanted at an extremely young age,” said Guillermo. “As young kids it’s very common that we try to emulate our parents or any grown up that is around us as we are growing. Adversities also play a huge role on forming someone's character. When I lost my legs in combat, I had two choices. One, I could let it defeat me, define me and feel sorry for myself or, two, I can thank God that he spared my life and defeat any obstacles that are placed on my path. I like to believe that I have been taking option two ever since. It is this way that I’m teaching my kids how to be strong, by never giving up. Yes, they see me hurt from time to time due to the slew of issues that have come with my injuries, but I refuse to ever show them any weakness. I refuse to ever show them what it looks like to give up, that is not allowed in our family.

“My wife, Veronica, has been the pillar that has kept our family strong. She has been by my side in good times and bad times. She has also shown my kids with actions that we have to keep ourselves accountable and the importance of pushing forward no matter how difficult things can get sometimes. Through my deployments she kept the home front strong and running. My kids saw that as I was called to deploy, I was able to go do my job without having to worry about anything at home because I knew that my wife could handle anything they needed while I was gone. I’m extremely proud of having raised some very strong kiddos, but I couldn’t have done it without the best wife by my side.”

Desiree (24), Guillermo Jr (18), Aracely (14), and David (7) each have a unique reason for how their dad daily inspires them.

For Desiree: “As a nursing student things get hard, but even when I wanted to give up my dad saw right through me and pushed me to go further in a way only my dad could. His indomitable spirit has always been my driving force in all that I do. He nearly gave his life for his country, and I will never forget that, he is my inspiration each and every day. I remind myself all the time that he didn’t push through his recovery to watch me quit. He pushed through so both he and I could see better days, and even when I am unsure of myself, he is, and always has been sure of me. He is my rock and anyone who meets my dad can tell you that he is one of those people who just exudes positivity.”

For Guillermo Jr: “The thing that inspires me about my dad is his ability to push through any situation and adapt to circumstances. There’s nothing that will stop my dad from living his best life or kill his morale.”

For Aracely: “My dad inspires me every day to live life to the fullest. Everyday should be taken as a blessing. He’s taught me to live life with no regrets.”

For David: “He inspires me because ‘He is a Marine’.”

A testament of endless hope and a beacon of all-encompassing love, the Tejada family found an unbreakable strength by remaining arm-in-arm and always together.