Veteran receives free home in Taylor for service
Marine Corps PFC Joshua Schroeder and his wife, Briana, enter their mortgage-free home from Building Homes for Heroes and Chase Bank for the first time on June 27. Schroeder survived a life-threatening blast in Afghanistan. Sarah Rahal, The Detroit News
Taylor — While Marine Corps Pfc. Joshua Schroeder was serving in Afghanistan in 2010, his vehicle was struck by a 100-pound pressure plate and he was immediately knocked unconscious.
“We were closing security, and my vehicle was supposed to go over a little creek,” Schroeder said. “... I was a turret gunner, and I was looking over the vehicle, making sure these big vehicles didn’t go into the little creek, and next thing I knew, lights out.”
He awoke in pain and was transported to Germany for treatment. After suffering a traumatic brain injury and continuous extreme pain, he was sent home. Schroeder returned to his wife, Briana. He still suffers from chronic migraine syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury, degenerative disc disease, hearing loss and arthritis in his back, shoulder and hip.
After they married in 2011, the couple lived in a small apartment in Belleville until Tuesday.
The Schroeders received a home in Taylor for Joshua’s service after Chase Bank donated a foreclosed home through a partnership with Building Homes for Heroes. It’s the 116th home given by Homes for Hero, the second in Michigan and the 601th for Chase Bank nationally.
“We thought it was something we could hopefully dream about ... and we just get a call one day,” Schroeder said. “We really appreciate it. It gets the weight off our shoulders.”
The application and repair of the house took nearly a year and cost around $50,000-$75,000, officials said.
On Tuesday, Schroeder, 27, was immediately struck by the size of the three-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot home and said their apartment could fit in the size of their new kitchen.
“Being in that apartment can make it a little harder. Adding on my medical stuff, on top of living in such a small area and how to afford something better, leads to problems after problems, mentally and stress,” Schroeder said.
He and Briana, 24, said they’re most looking forward to having their own laundry room.
“Our old laundry room was shared between eight other apartments and such a hassle,” Briana said.
With this new space, the couple also thinks children are a possibility along with lots of animals to join their 5-year-old dog, Faith.
“There’s nothing to truly say how we feel, if that makes sense. We are truly thankful for what everyone has done for us and the work everyone has put into this, and all we can say is thank you,” Briana said.
Schroeder, a Tennessee native, said he joined the Marine Corps because it was said to be the hardest and he wanted to prove to himself and others he could do something challenging and honorable. He went on to serve four years.
For his service, he was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.