Spc Leroy Esco Jr.

Beavercreek, OH

Home Award Program Recipient

Army Specialist Leroy Esco Jr. was born in Greenville, Mississippi. After graduating in 1999, Leroy realized his lifelong dream and became a fire fighter, a role he served in the town of Greenville for over two years. In November of 2004, Specialist Esco married his best friend, Taryn Lee of Bellingham, Washington, and in doing so became the proud dad of Taryn’s four daughters: Madison, Jaden, Keyondra and Ash’lin. Together, the couple would later have sons Leroy Jr. in 2007 and Da’Kari in 2009.

In 2006, Leroy decided to embark on yet another career protecting others from danger, and enlisted as an Infantryman with the U.S. Army.

In April of 2007, Specialist Esco and the 1-30 Infantry deployed for duty to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While driving his armored vehicle through Sadr City, Iraq, to establish a perimeter, SPC Esco’s Unit missed a turn. The Bradley vehicles were forced to pivot around, whereupon squad members noticed a suspicious curbside bag. The unit deemed it safe at first by firing at it with no occurrence, but upon rolling forward, the vehicle was struck with an explosively formed projectile (EFP). The explosion knocked Specialist Esco unconscious and ripped apart his right foot, blasting him with shrapnel and hitting his femoral artery. Incredibly, the fragment ended up cauterizing the artery, which likely saved him from bleeding out. Specialist Esco credits this happening to the book God’s Shield of Protection-a gift from his mom that he kept stashed under his uniform’s chest plate.

In the aftermath of the explosion, squad members came under intense fire, which delayed them in getting to Specialist Esco’s aid. Moments later, the medic and squad leader, while taking continuous fire from insurgents, were able to get to Specialist Esco and stabilize his condition. He was then taken to the CASH (Combat Support Hospital) for his first surgery, and later flown to Landstuhl, Germany, where he underwent additional surgery and treatments for his wounds. Taryn was finally able to see him a week later when he was flown to Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Specialist Esco was medically retired from the Army in September 2009.

Thanks to Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program, the family received a mortgage-free home located in Beavercreek, Ohio. The home’s four bedrooms will amply accommodate the family’s living needs; and best of all, the couple says, they’ve been given the gift of financial freedom and stability in their home life.

Taryn is currently finishing online courses to become a life coach, a vocation that will help her give back by mentoring and offering guidance to other military families. Leroy looks forward to spending less time worrying about bills, and spending more time fishing and being outdoors with his children. He’d also like to get back to being a “gadget geek” and toying around with electronics and computers, something he enjoyed doing before his injury. “We are still in complete shock and are finally coming to the realization that our dream of home ownership is within reach and possible now,” says Taryn. Thanks to Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program, she says, “Our family will be able to call this house ours.