When Juan and Alexis Dominguez decided in 2012 to get married, they were ready to do the planning, tackle the work and pay the expenses themselves.
But that’s not what businesses in their hometown of Temecula, Calif. had in mind.
Retired Cpl. Juan Dominguez lost three limbs in a 2010 blast in Afghanistan. He started dating his now wife, Alexis, almost a year later.
The people and businesses of Temecula had already helped fund the construction and purchase of a “smart house” for Dominguez. They came to a fundraising concert with the Gary Sinise Foundation. They gave money. They showed-up at the Sept. 11, 2012 ribbon-cutting.
But that wasn’t enough for them. So when Juan and Alexis announced they were going to get married, they went all out and gave the couple their dream wedding.
“You see some people that don’t appreciate military and then you have this whole town throwing themselves behind me,” Dominguez told me in a May 21 interview. “I’m excited to have kids and have them grow up in this amazing town.”
Almost everything for the wedding – from the venue to hair and make-up – was donated by local businesses.
Everything, that is, except the ring and the dress. Dominguez insisted on buying those items himself.
“I wanted it to be exactly what she wanted and I wanted to be able to give that to her,” he said. “It was generous for everyone to donate but I wanted to feel like I contributed to that.”
He said he was happy, however, to hand everything else over to the professionals.
“It was too stressful for me – I said ‘oh this is more stressful than combat,’” he said.
Dominguez said while his civilian side still feels in shock by the generosity of his community, his Marine side is simply humbled.
“People call me a ‘hero’ and stuff, and I don’t really like that term,” he said. “My heroes are the guys that didn’t come back. They’re six feet under and made the ultimate sacrifice. I did a pretty good job giving three limbs, but I didn’t quite make the cut. I don’t know – I’m just very humbled.”
Photo provided courtesy of Randy Green, RK Green Studios.