National News

Local disabled veteran's family grows in time for Christmas

Posted December 28, 2017 2:11 p.m. EST

— Family is everything for Marine Cpl. Garrett Carnes.

Like many who've seen war, he's lost a lot. On his first tour, his battalion lost two Marines and two pilots supporting the platoon. Then in 2012, he lost both legs stepping on an improvised explosive device, changing his life forever.

But Carnes has gained a lot coming back home. He has a wife and two young boys.

"My family, I give them all the credit for being there for me and kicking my butt whenever they get the slightest hint I'm feeling sorry for myself," Carnes said.

And little did he know, that family was about to grow.

"We had no idea about Unno until two weeks before Christmas," he said.

Canes says a couple from their church actually reached out to their son in the Army stationed in Germany. The son had been training a German Shepard, Unno, since he was a puppy.

"It's a different dynamic in the house having him around," Carnes said.

They arranged for Unno to fly to Burlington in time for a Christmas surprise, thanks to some funding help from Molly's Uniting Military Service.

"I get to bond with another combat veteran through Unno right here, that's pretty special to me," Carnes said. "Something came over his heart to donate Unno to us."

This isn't the first time the Burlington community has paid it forward to Carnes. Back in July 2016, thanks to volunteers and the Homes for our Troops nonprofit, they built a home custom for the vet.

"All are born to serve in some form or fashion whether it's the military, whether it's in the local community, whether it's each other, service is in all of us," Carnes said.