Episode 1: About Veteran Ray Coffey and the Coffey Family

Get to know the family and be there with them to experience the surprise of a lifetime.

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[MUSIC] Ray and I have been together over twenty years. We were high school sweethearts, he is my best friend. My dad is a very Very funny person before all his injuries. We'd go hiking and we'd go through nature trails and we were a very active family. It was the greatest time ever. We'd always go out or play catch and, I mean, that's how we learned to play baseball. He was our coach. He's a pretty cool dude. He felt that his purpose was To defend us, his family and us, his country, he's having a hard time doing anything other than that. [INAUDIBLE] I spent 17 in the United States Marine Corps. I was a staff and seal when I left. My grandfather served. He fought the Japanese, my dad fought in Vietnam. My uncle was a POW. My wife served, her dad served. When his Bronze Star was being pinned, the General that was awarding him his Bronze Star during the ceremony said I'm finally getting to meet the legend that is Sergeant [UNKNOWN]. [MUSIC] He was leader of men in the marine corps and his concern was for his marines. He still has that mentality that leaders go last. [MUSIC] We were checking some vehicles making sure everything was good to go before we in to Baghdad. And we had a moment, and I had this sat phone so I gave Melanie a call. I just had a very ominous feeling, and we ended up having to get off very abruptly. And I didn't learn until later that they had been taking enemy fire, there had been an IED. [NOISE] I think I didn't hang out with this issue. So, that was a fun moment, and I didn't get to call her back 'til like two days. So, I'm sure she was a nervous wreck. A couple of the guys including Ray were injured. They were medivaced You know, when I first come home, I don't remember a lot of it. I don't remember, I mean it's still hard to piece together a lot from the last explosion. Upon his return, we did not know the degree of his injury. Because he was exposed to several IEDs, close range fire, grenade blasts. 16 face surgeries, two knee surgeries. He's had four surgeries on his spine. I'm blind in one eye. The blast knocked off his vision alignment. It's Off to the side. I don't have hardly feeling below my knees. According to his spine surgeon, he has the spine of an 80 year old man. Hearing loss, his jaws, upper and lower jaws. Those are all titanium. And he has a mouth full of implants. I had a pretty Pretty hard case of PTS I guess. What? My feet, you're supposed to do the feet. Well, you weren't getting up like you normally do. The post traumatic stress disorder was the most obvious one that we saw. He had a very short temper. He was angry all the time. He pretended to be okay for all of us, but we all knew something was wrong, he wasn't the same person coming back as he was when he left. He forgets a lot, a lot. Birthdays, dates, important stuff. Not important stuff. You isolate yourself from everyone. I drank all the time. There was a lot of self-medicating. There was a lot of prescriptions. I been a lot of mine drinking. And Marine Corps. We're good at it, so. From an outsider's perspective I got to see what the impact on him was, the way he carried himself, I think he felt like he lost his purpose. It wasn't until I understood I admitted that I had it before I got any better. And I've been sober now for. Eight years. [MUSIC] I worked for Homeland Security as an IT Information Security Specialist. Initially, once he was put on temporary retirement, we did not realize He was going to lose his full time nurse during the day. So, I resigned. My mom loved her job, and she loves being in the IT field, but she did have to leave her job to go and help my dad. Having two people that aren't able to To work outside of the home and contribute. It is a very hopeless feeling. [MUSIC] I honestly don't know how she does it. I mean seeing your husband in that kind of pain. And trying to do it as best you can and it not being enough because it's not her. It's where we were living, it's what we had to work with that was not making anything any better. She could have been superwoman, which she is, and it not be enough. Want to go outside for a little bit. It would be good for you, get some sun. So now she has to Schedule appointments, monitor medicines, make sure he's taking them at all hours and making sure he has some help getting out of bed, getting into bed, getting in the shower getting out of the shower, moving around the house. Just basic motor skills she has to help him with, and that's taking a toll on her as well. Well, I hate being a patient. I hate it with a passion. I don't want anyone's help ever. And luckily she's been there and understood that and she's given up a lot. We were on a vacation to Florida and we had to cut it short to come to a Round Rock Express game because you know he was being honored.>>We were told they were going to come interview us During one of the innings. And the camera crew came over and then slowly more people started to come. And Ray is asking me like, who's here? Like there's someone famous around here. We looked on the screen, and there were people behind Us holding up a picture of a house and we're all in shock. We're like wait, wait, what? Staff Sargent Coffee, we have a very special announcement for you. We want you to know that earlier today you were selected by Operation Finally Home to receive a custom Mortgage free home built by Henley homes up in Georgetown just right up the road. It's just an emotional Roller coaster. They just kept thinking about all this things that were gonna change. And they were so overwhelmingly thankful and so happy. And there was lots and lots of crying on both ends. I saw it here in my dad's eyes. I swear, it was there. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO].
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