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Building Dreams for Marines takes on project to help one of their own
BEDFORD, N.H. — When Gunnery Sgt. Bernie Ruchin was in combat on the island of Saipan during World War II, he took some artillery shrapnel in his right knee.
He didn’t know that the injury would eventually catch up to him in October when his knee gave way walking down the stairs of his home in Bedford. Ruchin tore four tendons and is currently going through rehabilitation.
Now, his fellow Marines are coming to his aid just as they would on the battlefield, but this time, they’re remodeling his bathroom.
The Building Dreams for Marines organization, a local nonprofit that does construction projects for Marines in need, is spearheading the effort.
Ruchin said he has trouble showering because of his knee injury, and the group is volunteering its efforts to build him a bathroom that is more suitable to his needs.
This is the fifth project for the organization, which has helped wounded Marines returning from recent combat missions. This time, it’s helping a Marine who served in combat for 12 years in WWII and Korea.
The renovation project will construct a new shower and put in a railing system to help Ruchin navigate his home more easily.
Ruchin said he likes to see such projects go to the younger guys, but he realized he needed some help and was convinced to let the Marines do the job.
The project is being overseen by Cobb Hill Construction and is expected to be completed by next Thursday.
Sgt. Daniel Vasselian killed in Afghanistan last December
ABINGTON, Mass. — The brother of a Massachusetts Marine killed in Afghanistan used Wednesday’s snowstorm to honor him in a unique way.
Joe Vasselian, 24, built a snow sculpture in memory of his brother, Sgt. Daniel Vasselian.
The Abington native died Dec. 23 in combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Joe Vasselian’s simple caption for the photo posted on Instagram was “love you bro.”
Joe said he’s always enjoyed making snowmen for his grandmother, who lives next door, but was inspired to make something to remember his brother in this recent winter storm.
Thousands of people lined the streets, roads and overpasses of Boston and surrounding suburbs in support when Sgt. Daniel Vasselian’s body was brought from Logan Airport back to his hometown.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez, 19, to be laid to rest
The funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez is scheduled for Monday at the First Congregational Church in his hometown of Fairhaven. He will be buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
The 19-year-old Rodriguez died Dec. 11 during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
Rodriguez graduated in 2012 from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School and enlisted in the Marines in August 2012.
Gov. Deval Patrick ordered all flags to half staff Monday in honor of Rodriquez.
A U.S. Marine was killed over the weekend in a skydiving accident during a trip to Australia his wife won on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Gunnery Sgt. Brandon McGraw, 33, of North Carolina, was pronounced dead at the scene where emergency services found him after complications during the jump led to a crash landing, according to the Euroa Police Department.
His wife, Cherilyn, made a successful tandem jump from the same plane operated by Skydive Euroa, a skydiving and parachuting school in Victoria, Australia.
Cherilyn jumped first and landed safely, but something went awry during Brandon’s descent, according to E! News.
Police are investigating what may have caused the accident, Euroa Senior Constable Kendra Jackson said in a statement.
Ian Matthews, an employee at Skydive Euroa told theJacksonville Daily News that the Marine was an experienced skydiver with more than “a few jumps under his belt.” According to Matthews, the beginning of McGraw’s jump went smoothly but then, “he suddenly began turning his parachute dramatically to the left and right and eventually crashed into the ground.”
Cherilyn McGraw shared pictures of the couple’s flight on her Facebook page and wrote, “My hero. My angel. These are truly such symbolic photos. He was happy and doing what he loved … I love you more than anything in the world, honey. You are the most amazing man.”
“He went the way he would have wanted to,” echoed Suzanne Bonnette, a neighbor in North Carolina. “Even though he was happy doing what he did, our loss is terrible in this neighborhood,” Bonnette told NBC affiliate WITN.
“It is with a heavy heart that MARSOC announces the passing of one of our Marines,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Barry J. Morris in a statement. “He was a consummate professional, who upheld our warrior ethos each and every day. Our heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family as they mourn the loss of their loved one.”
McGraw served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was decorated with over 20 medals and ribbons during his time in the service, according to Marine Corps officials.
His wife won the Australian getaway in January 2013 during a contest called, “Stuff Your Down Under Pants” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, according to WITN.
Ellen DeGeneres said in a statement, “I’ve been speaking with Cherilyn. And my staff has been in touch with her as well. She’s asked us to help keep this private as she tries to deal with this unimaginable tragedy. I hope everyone respects that.”
Skydive Euroa was established in 1983, according to its website. The site says the company “has the best safety record in Victoria delivering hundreds of thousands of jumps since the day we began.” Skydive Euroa did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez of Fairhaven
A plane carrying the body from Dover Air Force Base is set to arrive at New Bedford Airport on Thursday. Family members are expected to be on hand along with honor guards and representatives of local police and fire departments.
A procession will bring the remains to a funeral home in Mattapoisett, passing Rodriguez’ home along the way.
A wake is set for Sunday, followed by a funeral on Monday at a Fairhaven church. Burial will be at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
The New Bedford airport says it plans to name a playground under construction in honor of Rodriguez.