Retired Army Sgt. Marcos Claudio comes from a family of veterans—he was the third generation to deploy, and his daughter, in the Air Force, is now the fourth.
He first began his service in the Army National Guard but in 2007 he decided that he wanted to try active duty for what he thought might be a few years. Those few years turned into over 12 and included deploying twice each to Iraq and Afghanistan and once to Kuwait.
But his service took a toll due to his asthma and PTSD. In 2019, Marcos began the process to medically retire. He and his wife, Matheline, wanted to eventually retire in Phoenix, near Marcos’s daughter, but they were nervous about the transition to civilian life. Marcos worked as a criminal investigator with the U.S. Army Civil Investigation Command at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and they worried they did not have enough money saved for a cross-country move and housing.
Marcos turned to Operation Homefront’s Transitional Housing Villages in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The program provides rent-free, fully furnished apartments for service members who are transitioning out of the military and their families. Marcos moved into the Maryland Village in August 2019.
“I could not see ahead,” Marcos said. “I thought the Army and VA would pay me as soon as I left the service but It was not like that.”
After living in Operation Homefront’s Village for nearly a year, Marcos and his wife were able to save more than $11,300, create a customized plan for moving to Phoenix, and realize their dreams of becoming homeowners.
“We had the opportunity to pay closing fees to the Phoenix house,” Marcos said. “Asking me what I would have done without the (Village) program is like a question without an answer. The answer is, I really don’t know.”
In June, Marcos and Matheline graduated from the program and finished their move to Phoenix where they are already settling in. Marcos is enrolled in a motorcycle mechanic school that is within walking distance to his house and they can now plan to see his daughter, who is stationed in Tucson and returned from deployment.
“There is no way to describe to the donors the positive impact they have made to me!” Marcos said. “A simple thank you does not feel sufficient.”