Temecula Marine veteran who lost leg in Afghanistan gets mortgage-free home from Gary Sinise Foundation

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- Josue Barron joined the Marine Corps at age 17. Raised by a single mother, Barron said the Marine Corps itself was like a father figure to him growing up.

"I didn't have a dad, so the Marine Corps became my father. There was discipline, so I feel like it became that role model that I needed to become who I wanted to become," he said.

Barron was working his second deployment in Afghanistan on Oct. 21, 2010 when an IED exploded, causing him to lose his left leg and left eye.

"I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I knew what I wanted. One thing I didn't know was, I didn't expect to lose a limb," he said.

The veteran, a recipient of the Purple Heart, said his wife and mother were by his side through it all.

"My wife became my main support system. My mom was there. So I had two strong women with me every step of the way," he said.

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Barron said using a prosthetic leg means nonstop pain.

"Walking on your prosthetic is pain daily. You're in constant pain, and people will never see that. They just see somebody walking on a prosthetic," he said. "When I come home, I want to sit down in that wheelchair and relax."

Barron applied to be considered by the Gary Sinise Foundation.

"We go through a rigorous deep dive into their qualifications," said Elizabeth Fields, COO of the Gary Sinise Foundation. "At some point, it's up to Gary to make his final approval."

Barron said when he received the call from Sinise himself, he knew that he and his family were going to be OK.

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"Living in a house that is not accessible to you, you're challenged every single day to do the daily activities that normal people do," he explained.

Fields said Barron's new home is 100% adapted and mortgage free.

"Just being able to roll into the shower without jumping any obstacles, to be able to come home and have the whole house accessible to my wheelchair and me, it's definitely going to change my life," he said.

"They're a lovely family, so deserving, he protected our freedom, and this is our way to say thank you," Fields said.

Barron is driven by the challenges he's been able to overcome, which he says have made him stronger and have shown him anything is possible. He has a passion for hand-cycling -- he now cycles 100 miles a week training for the Invictus Games and lives with his wife and three boys in Temecula, according to The Gary Sinise Foundation.

To learn more, visit www.garysinisefoundation.org.

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