Decorated WWII veteran gets home makeover

Johnnie Marino is 95 and has been roughing it here on Caylor Street for years. But Tuesday, volunteers from area Home Depots helped repair Marino's worn down home.

Veterans Day is about honoring service.

On Caylor Street in Houston's East End, it's also about service to those that served.

Volunteers from Houston-area Home Depots gathered Tuesday to do just that.

"As soon as I heard that we were doing a veteran's home—just trying to do my part," said volunteer Thomas Bourgeois.

There was plenty of work to be done at the home of 95-year-old Johnnie Marino, a veteran who served in World War II.

"Electrical was bad, the gas didn't work, the appliances didn't work," said Jim Soller, the executive director of Rebuilding Together.

The list goes on.

Enter Rebuilding Together and volunteers from local Home Depots.

"I have always envied the older vets," Bourgeois said. "They did not have what we had; they had to rough it worse than we did."

Marino has been roughing it on Caylor Street for years.

Bourgeois has been to war, still, "I can't even imagine what he went through," Bourgeois said. "To serve the country in that way."

Marino remembers his time served like it was yesterday.

"We didn't know anything about D-Day," Marino said. "They didn't tell the soldiers."

It was June 6, 1944, around 6 a.m.

"That is where hell started, because the Germans—they were up here, we were down there. They were shooting down on us. They could see," Marino said.

The greatest generation is dwindling too fast for Marino, but now, at least, there is comfort.

"I want to thank you very much," Marino said to the group of volunteers, "from the bottom of my heart."

Another life chapter added, this one for him.

"I really am thinking of writing a book," Marino said with a laugh.

He's sure got enough stories for one.


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