Everything changed for a Virginia man, who was a track star in high school, after he was injured while serving with the Army in Iraq more than 10 years ago.
Described by WJLA-TV as "one of the most severely injured" vets to survive the Iraq War, Jay Briseno became a quadriplegic and was blinded when a bullet was shot through his head in Baghdad when he was 20 years old. His family has been caring for him in the 11 years since in their home. But on Monday, they got a look at their new digs.
“There’s a lot of great memories in that home … and not-so-good memories,” Joseph Briseno, Jay Briseno's father, said, starting to choke up at the thought of leaving their current home for one that will better suit his family in the D.C. metro area, WJLA reported.
Jay Bresino became brain damaged, blind and paralyzed after he was shut through the head while serving the U.S. military in Iraq. His parents have been caring for him in their slightly modified home, but now they're getting a new one that's even better suited for their needs. (Image source: WJLA-TV)
The father who has been caring for his son in their converted living room for more than a decade told WRC-TV the support from the community is "overwhelming."
"It's America saying thank you to my son for the service that he did for our country," Joseph Briseno told the news station.
The home located in Manassas, Virginia, was donated through the Helping a Hero program, Azalea Charities and the Quality of Life Foundation along with other businesses and organizations. It is customized to meet Briseno's needs and those of the family who helps him with everything from feeding to bathing to going to the restroom. According to Azalea Charities, his family is also always on alert for seizures and to make sure his breathing tube is functioning properly.
"Jay laid down his ability to live independently on a battlefield in Iraq – a warrior’s sacrifice. At that moment, his parents’ lives were also changed forever. Their own plans and dreams for their only son turned into the reality of a lifetime of care giving. They have forfeited their jobs, their income and drained their retirement savings to care for their hero, Jay," Azalea Charities stated.
The new home will not only feature a more accessible bathroom situation — WJLA reported that it will allow Jay Briseno to take his first real bath in 11 years — but it will also have a master suite near Jay's room that will allow his parents to sleep in the same room again, according to Azalea Charities.
Watch WJLA-TV's report with footage from Monday's dedication ceremony, which featured an appearance by "God Bless the USA" singer Lee Greenwood: