Cpl Nicholas Eckley
Home Award Program Recipient
Marine Corporal Nicholas (Nick) Eckley was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1989, and lived in Cleveland until he was 7 years old. His family then moved to Stow, Ohio where Nick finished his school years and graduated from Stow-Munroe Falls High School. Throughout his youth, Nick was an avid athlete participating in football, baseball, and basketball. He was particularly committed to baseball, having traveled all over the country and competing in the Little League World Series with his team.
Nick joined the Marines in March of his senior year in high school. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was sent to Camp Geiger in North Carolina for infantry school. Soon after completing infantry school, Nick was selected to the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) in Norfolk, Virginia; he also attended Security Forces School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Shortly after completing the course he was assigned to 1st FAST Company 2nd Platoon (1F2) and a variety of follow on schools. Nick served in FAST Company for nearly three years and completed three tours with this platoon. While in FAST Company, Nick met his wife Madison, a fellow Marine from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the two were married on Christmas Day in 2009 during leave in Ohio. The couple would later celebrate the birth of their first child, daughter MaKenna, on September 13, 2010.
Months later in May 2010, Corporal Eckley was assigned to 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines (3/2, Betio Bastards) at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the unit deployed to Musa Q’aleh, Afghanistan on what would be his fourth and final tour. On March 23, 2011, while conducting a mounted patrol in support of his company, the vehicle Corporal Eckley was driving in was hit by a remote improvised explosive device (IED), which detonated in the center of the vehicle, knocking him unconscious. After the blast, Corporal Eckley was medically evacuated to Camp Bastion, and then transported to Landstuhl, Germany, for treatment of multiple injuries including traumatic brain injury, back and knee trauma, and shrapnel wounds to his legs, hands and back. Corporal Eckley was eventually brought stateside on July 5, 2011 to Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune where he continued his recovery. The couple would have their second child, daughter Raegan, on August 20, 2012.
Corporal Eckley was medically retired from the United States Marine Corps on October 30, 2012. His military awards and decorations include: Purple Heart, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with 2 bronze stars), NATO ISAF Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (with 3 bronze stars), Navy Unit Citation Ribbon (with 2 bronze stars), Joint Meritorious Unit Citation Ribbon, 2 Letters of Commendation, 3 Letters of Appreciation, and a Letter of Commendation from the President of the United States of America. Nick learned about Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program during the summer of 2012 and applied shortly after. He was thrilled to learn later that his application was approved and that a mortgage-free home was available for his family in Cypress, Texas. Currently Nick and Madison and their two children are living with his parents in Ohio and are expecting their third child (November 2013), a son they will name Hunter, so having a home to call their own will be a huge blessing.
Since Nick is medically retired, he now enjoys spending time with his wife and children; he also enjoys, golfing, going for walks and volunteering in his community. As Nick’s caregiver, Madison looks forward to being able to care for the children and Nick in a safe and comfortable home, where Nick can continue focusing on his recovery. Together, Nick and Madison are equally excited about their future and are grateful to be in a position to give back to the Houston area community and volunteer in any way they can.