CIBOLO, Texas - The oppressive morning heat did little to squelch the excitement for USMC (Ret.) SSgt. Alex Del Rio and those who gathered outside his new two-story brick home in Cibolo.
“To receive this beautiful house, not for myself, my family, my little girl, there’s no words to describe how I feel,” Del Rio said.
Del Rio’s house was made possible through the HelpingaHero.org, a Houston-based program that builds specially adapted homes for veterans severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On his third deployment, Del Rio lost both of his legs in an IED attack in Iraq that he said cost him half of his men that day.
“Your are a shining star in the Helping a Hero family,” said Meredith Iler, who founded the organization.
Iler described how Del Rio has encouraged other wounded warriors, and he teaches survival skills to troops who are deploying overseas.
“We thank you that you never have asked for a home for yourself. We had to force him to let us build him this house,” Iler said.
Asked why, Del Rio said, “It’s because of pride. It’s just me, who I am as a Marine. I don’t expect nothing from nobody.”
Del Rio told the audience his parents were naturalized citizens, so he is first generation American citizen.
“I wanted to serve my country, so I enlisted in the Marine Corps and never looked back,” Del Rio said.
Even in the midst of Monday’s celebration, Del Rio said he thinks about those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the wounded warriors who are deserving of what he’s now been given.
“A lot of us have had multiple tours. A lot of us severely burned, missing four limbs, half of our bodies,” Del Rio said.
At least now in his new house, Del Rio said he’ll be able to get around in his wheelchair after wearing his prosthetics all day.
“It’s such a good feeling knowing that my husband will not be in pain ever day,” said Michelle Del Rio, his wife.
Iler said the kitchen in the Del Rio’s home was built so that his wife can work from home as a pastry chef.
Del Rio said, “She’s put up with a lot from me with all my injuries and my nightmares. I thank her so much.”
Standing at the front door of their dream home, Del Rio’s wife cradled the couple’s baby girl, Emilia Sophia, only 10 days old.
Speaking about her husband, Michelle Del Rio said, “He’s dedicated over a decade of his life fighting for freedom, for peace. With this home, he’ll be able to find peace and happiness.”
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