SSgt Dominic Fernandez
On July 22, 2010, Marine Staff Sergeant Dominic Fernandez, an Infantry unit leader, was relieving British Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, in Sangin, Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) during an enemy attack. The blast resulted in the loss of his right leg, damage to his back, and right arm neuropathy.
While recovering, Dominic’s wound became infected, which required doctors to further amputate his right leg above the knee. The damage to his back required him to wear a neck brace for eight months. Dominic experiences back pain and experiences numbness in his arm due to the nerve damage he sustained.
Now medically retired, Dominic enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time with his three children and wife Heidi. He says receiving a specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home will allow him to be a better husband and father. In his current living situation, showering and cooking are difficult for Dominic since his wheelchair does not fit in the bathroom or kitchen, and wearing his prosthetic for extended periods of time is painful. Dominic will not have to deal with these daily obstacles in an HFOT home with lower countertops and a roll-in shower, giving him more energy for family and continuing school. “Having so many accommodations lessens the burdens that affect my life,” he says. “This will allow me to take on more tasks throughout the day, like more hours in class, and make it easier for me to care for my youngest son.”
Originally from San Antonio, Dominic is choosing to build his home in Minnesota for the area’s excellent public school system and he enjoys all four seasons. Heidi grew up in the area as well.
Dominic and Heidi cannot believe there are organizations like HFOT willing to build them a forever home. “HFOT’s donors don’t know us, but they help give us the ultimate gift of freedom and independence,” he says.