Dying soldier's wish fulfilled

Posted at: 11/12/2012 5:50 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News

Photo: Jessey Baca
Photo: Jessey Baca

Throughout the weekend and Monday, we have honored our veterans. So, Monday couldn't have been a more fitting day to grant a dying soldier's wish. The hope is to give something back. Something his service has taken away.

A wish came true Monday for Jessey Baca. A brand new Craftsman riding lawnmower. Baca has served in the Navy and National Guard for nearly 40 years. Lung damage from "burn pits" while serving in the gulf has forced his retirtement. It's slowly killing him, but he says he sees a lot of veterans worse off than him. It wasn't easy for Baca to accept the gift.

"I was almost at the point, I couldn't accept it. But they told me no; we thank you for your service and please accept our gift and I said with that, absolutely," Baca said.

His wife, Maria Baca, said there's no way they could have gotten a lawnmower so nice.

"He never expected anything like this. Especially in our budget. We can't afford it. We have too many medical bills," Maria said.

The Baca family has been through a lot. Spending quailty "family time" in their backyard is one of their favorite pastimes. Baca said his new mower won't just be good for his lawn.

"For me backyard work isn't. It's not work. For me it's very therapy, mental therapy. It helps me forget about the issues that i'm going through," Baca said.

Maria thought the timing couldn't have been better.

"We did not expect it on Veterans Day. What a more fitting day for my soldier than to get this on Veterans Day," Maria said.