SSgt (Ret.) Alex Del Rio, USMC
When Alex Del Rio was 9 months old, he had surgery to remove a tumor from his head, and doctors told his parents it would be difficult for him to play sports. He proved them wrong. He was in kenpo, played football, baseball, basketball, ran cross country and played varsity soccer. He, also volunteered for Lulac and food for the homeless.
His grandfather would tell him stories about WWII and his great uncle fought at the Chosin Reservoir (Frozen Chosin) and heard stories of Vietnam from his Uncle Frankie. Alex always knew his calling was to serve his country in the military. Many of his cousins also joined and served in the military.. He "wanted to be the best" and join the "toughest branch." He enlisted in the Marines. Alex served with 1st Radio Battalion- Radio Reconnaissance Platoon, 3rd Recon & 4th Recon.
On Alex’s 3rd deployment, he was severely injured coming out of Zaidon, Iraq. Their job was to go after HVTs (High Value Targets) and on return back to their FOB (Forward Operating Base), his vehicle hit an IED on the road. It was a double stack anti-tank mine. They were in an open back door 4-door Humvee with bolted-on armor when they were hit. It took almost 48 minutes to get to the hospital from the time of the initial blast. He never lost consciousness during the whole ordeal. He was touch-and-go and passed away twice.
Alex was in a coma for 13 days in Landstuhl, Germany. He then battled to save his left leg, left hand, and right arm in Bethesda, MD. He kept all but his left leg. After 3 months at Bethesda, he began occupational therapy at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.
Alex is married and has 5 beautiful children. His wife graduated from culinary school, but has been unable to work between the cost of daycare and tending to Alex’s injuries. His parents have also been by his side, as well. Alex passed away and was revived in front of them at one time. He is thankful for the love and devotion of his entire family. Alex looks forward to finishing his degree, working, and being a productive citizen.
He and his family reside in his specially adapted Helping A Hero home in Texas.