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06/28/2014 11:09 am ET | Updated Jun 30, 2014

Veteran Returns Home To Find Beautiful Surprise, Makes Us All Cry Alongside Him

This veteran got the homecoming he deserved.

When Marine Corps Iraq veteran Sgt. Jacinto Bernardo left his home in Suisun City, California, in his friend's care while serving, he expected to return to the same run-down conditions, reported KHON2. But Jeremy Epperson, Bernardo’s former boot camp buddy, was determined to give his friend the welcome back he deserved.

The retired sergeant returned to the house he had bought six months earlier to find it completely made over, thanks to $70,000 worth of donations, from local businesses and the Jimmy Doolittle Center, according Yahoo News. The house was complete with a new kitchen, floors, carpets, paint and backyard.

Bernardo was overcome with heartfelt gratitude upon touring the house but didn’t forget to think of his brave counterparts who gave their lives to protect the country. "Those guys that didn’t make it back and those guys that didn’t make it in one piece, they deserve this, not me," a sobbing Bernardo told reporters.

Rounding up friends, volunteers, and donations, Epperson had the makeover completed inside and out in just 10 days. To keep the project a secret from his pal, he blocked Bernardo on Facebook.

"Twenty-one years in the Marine Corps, you don’t deserve to come back to a house where you have to spend a lot of your savings and time fixing it up," Epperson told ABC13.

The veteran told ABC that he and his family were finally home for good.

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