Welcome Home, Cpl. Josh Himan

Local Marine came home to his family's Dale City residence after 18 months rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

The clouds lifted and the rain gave way to sunshine on Saturday afternoon as the United States Marine Corps band played the Marines’ Hymn at a ceremony marking the homecoming of Cpl. Josh Himan with hundreds of people in attendance. For Himan and his family,

Himan came home to Dale City from Walter Reed Army Medical Center after spending more than Upon arriving, Himan was surprised to find his family’s house completely renovated in order to allow him to easily adapt to living in a wheelchair. 

“I don’t know how I’m going to thank everybody,” Himan said through tears. “It means a lot.”

There were cheers, smiles, and plenty of tears at Himan’s homecoming as hundreds of people from the community turned out to welcome him back. He was escorted down Dale Boulevard and all the way to his house on Orangewood Drive by a police motorcade as people lined the streets with signs thanking him for his service.

The house renovation was a project of the Northern Virginia Fuller Center for Housing, which raised the money and completed the project in only 90 days. NOVA Fuller Center President Jacob Koch said the project involved $200,000 in donations of labor, materials and cash, as well as the work of between 500 and 1,000 volunteers. “We took a leap of faith,” Koch said. “This is a miracle.”

In the 58 days between the groundbreaking on Feb. 3 and Himan’s homecoming on Saturday, contractors and volunteers completely renovated the home, including making Himan’s bedroom and the entire first floor wheelchair accessible.

Himan was impressed by the results. ”I like everything,” he said. “I love the outside, love the deck. I’m not sure this is the same house.”

The ceremony featured a list of prominent speakers, including U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Ronald Coleman, and Virginia Del. Rich Anderson, who presented Himan with a flag of the Commonwealth that had been flown above the capitol in Himan’s honor and a commendation from Governor Robert McDonnell.

Fifty Marines lined the Himan family’s driveway as Cpl. Himan was escorted into his home. The Marines are from the Instructor Battalion at the Basic School on Marine Corps Base Quantico. Lt. Col. Mike Samarov, commanding officer of the battalion, said many of his Marines had volunteered on the project.

Ken Brown, a civilian government employee at Quantico, made Samarov aware of the need for help on the project and coordinated the Marines who volunteered to help. Samarov said both instructors and students at The Basic School were involved in the project.

Himan spent much of the day wheeling himself around the new house, complete with wheelchair ramps, and greeting people by name, thanking them for coming. “I will be eternally grateful,” he said. “I appreciate all the community support.”

For Himan, it was hard to believe he was back home. “It’s pretty surreal,” he said. “When I was going down Dale Boulevard, I was like, ‘Oh yeah.’”

“This is where I’ve lived my whole life,” he said. “Anytime you go away and come back, there’s a sense of ease. This is one of the things you say is once in a lifetime. It’s hard to compare this to anything.”

The day was special for Himan’s family as well. “It’s overwhelming,” said Jerry Himan, Josh’s father. “Sometimes it’s hard to receive a gift or a blessing.”

Josh’s mother Pat said the family has come through a lot since the day they heard about his injury. “You spend time in that little world where nothing is real, you just go through the motions,” she said. The family struggled with the question, “Where do we go now?”

They questioned whether to try altering the house to fit Josh’s needs, but decided it would not be possible—until they were contacted by the Fuller Center. “We prayed for it for so long,” Pat said. “I believed it was possible, but I couldn’t see it. I definitely never believed it would be like this.”

“Most of all I’m very grateful to God,” she said. “He brought everything together.” When the family was unsure what to do, Pat said God encouraged her. “God spoke to me then and said, ‘I’m faithful and I’m always good.’”

Himan next plans to go back to college to continue studying finance, but in the meantime, he’s enjoying the new house and being home with his family. “That room is for a king,” he said. “I’ll be glad to stay here until my parents kick me out.”

Connie Moser April 03, 2011 at 12:12 AM
I'm so proud of our community. That small town feeling, connecting people...helping people, is what makes us special. Thank you, Josh Himan, not just for your sacrifice, but for the opportunity to remind us all how much we can do when we join together.
David Dell April 03, 2011 at 01:42 AM
As a retired military man myself, I know how inportant it is to have the community show their support for what we do. My community made me proud today, to say I am from Dale City. I thank Josh for the great sacrifice he made to keep us free. He is truly a Hero.
Lauren Jost April 03, 2011 at 03:07 AM
It made me very proud of our community, as well. The atmosphere of community, support and love today was amazing. Thank you for adding your photos, Connie. But most importantly, thank you to Cpl. Himan for his service.
Walt Sullivan April 03, 2011 at 08:12 AM
I was honored today to meet Marine Corporal Josh Himan. My faith was restored in humanity today by the generosity and kindness of the community and others helping Marine Corporal Josh Himan to the point that I was moved to tears at many moments through out the day. It was an over whelming experience and a great privilege to meet just some of the people that made all of this possible. To me it what community is all about, not just here in Dale City, Virginia but everywhere where people give of themselves and ask for nothing in return. Thank you.
Rich Anderson April 03, 2011 at 02:55 PM
It is amazing what people can do when they reach together toward a common goal. It was a privilege to meet Corporal Josh Himan yesterday and to thank the volunteers who devoted themselves to this labor of love. I have lived in many states over the course of a 30-year military career...and I have never before witnessed such strong bonds of partnership. I am so proud of our community and thankful to live in Prince William County!
lsgosnell123@yahoo.com April 03, 2011 at 03:45 PM
To Josh I say thank you for your service to our country, and I welcome you back to your hometown! To the community, I extend my gratitude and respect for all the donors, participants, and the many long hours it took to make all of this possible for Josh and his family. A special thanks goes to the Northern Virginia Fuller Center for Housing for making this project come to fruition.
Fizban April 03, 2011 at 03:46 PM
I am so glad people have woke up and are aware that those of us in the armed forces are but following orders, when we are ordered to go to the four corners of the world, to preserve freedom. We give our eyes limbs and our very life in that effort. We dont make these wars we just go and die there. As we warriors have a saying . ALL GAVE SOME AND SOME GAVE ALL. I remember when we came back from Viet Nam. We were cursed spit upon offered cans of dog food. I will never forget that That was our welcome home.
Nathan Curby April 03, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Fizban, Lt. Gen. Ronald Coleman, USMC (Ret.) made the same point about being spat upon when returning from Vietnam and the difference in the community support for troops today. He told me, "Whether they support the war or not, people are kind and they support these young men and women." Yesterday was a remarkable demonstration of that support.
Sarah Millard April 04, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Nathan, saw this story on the AOL home page and am so grateful I was able to read it! Thanks Cpl. Josh Hinman for your service and sacrifice.
CathyPowell April 04, 2011 at 01:13 PM
A True American Hero home finally to be with his family......God Bless you Cpl Josh Himan!....THANK YOU. I am so proud to know you and your family.
susan bona-bonacquisti April 04, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Thank you for defending and serving our great Country. Good Bless you Cpl. Josh Himan and your family. Susan Bona-Bonacquisti
Meredith April 05, 2011 at 12:55 PM
As the Chairman of HelpingaHero.org, we were honored to be a part of a great team to make this home a reality. Hats off to Kim Munoz, Quality of Life Foundation, who really started this whole project. She was working with the Himan family and knew they needed an adapted home in order to bring him home. She raised most of the money for the remodeling and assembled a great team with Azalea Charities, NOVA Fuller Center for Housing, HelpingaHero.org, and several other groups. HelpingaHero.org builds specially adapted homes for our severely wounded heroes injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have NO PAID STAFF...so your dollars will go directly into a new home for a wounded hero. Please consider making a donation today...we are doing 2 more homes in Virginia this year...one in partnership with the same team for Jay Briseno, one of the most severely wounded from the war... and one for Cpl Ronnie Porta, USMC, who is burned over 80% of his body, missing an arm and only has a few burned digits remaining on his bruned arm. PLease go to HelpingaHero.org and make a donation today!
Meredith April 05, 2011 at 01:05 PM
HelpingaHero.org was honored to be the top cash donor for the home for Cpl Josh Himan. Hats off to Kim Munoz of Quality of Life Foundation for making sure this family got an adapted home so that Josh would be able to move back home. She assembled the team of Azalea Charities and NOVA Fuller Center of Housing.....then reached out to HelpingaHero.org and others to raise the funds needed for the home. SSGT Daniel Gilyeat, USMC (Ret.) represented HelpingaHero.org at Saturday's ceremony to bring Josh home. HelpingaHero.org builds specially adapted homes for our most severely wounded heroes injured in Iraq and Afghanistan and will be doing 2 more homes in Virginia this year. One in partnership with this team for Jay Briseno and one for Cpl Ronnie Porta, USMC who is burned over 80% of his body, missing an arm and only has 3 digits left on his remaining burned arm. If you'd like to participate in these homes, please donate today at HelpingaHero.org and write Virginia home in the comments section. By the way...HelpingaHero.org has NO PAID STAFF!!!
Lowell Easterly April 11, 2011 at 02:17 AM
I am so thankful that Josh is home with his family. My wife and I have known the family for many years and consider them our dear friends. I thank God that he has blessed them by returning Josh home. Lowell And Loretta Easterly
Lou Perkins May 25, 2011 at 12:37 PM
Josh... This is Coach Lou Perkins... I remember when Coach Greg Johnson and I first coached you in football and we always commented on how special of a person (you noticed I didn't say football player ... lol...) you were. We used to comment that one day you would be President or CEO of a big company but you have done one better.... You gave to this country.... As you know I am a retired combat veteran as well and I am proud of you and to say we are friends... As you know I now coach at Forest Park and the girls came down to assist but I was unavailable due to a work committment at the VA Hospital for Homeless Veteran Intervention but I will come down in the very near future... Stay strong and I love you.... Coach...
Paul May 26, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Thank you Josh for your sacrifices. Im proud of you and my community. Bless you
Designermite August 11, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Marine Lance Corporal Josh Himan Homecoming Motorcade Dale City, Virginia Marine Lance Corporal Josh Himan Homecoming Motorcade Dale City, Virginia Marine Lance Corporal Josh Himan came home police escorted Saturday, April 2, 2011 to Dale City, Virginia after spending 18 months recovering in Walter Reed Army Medical Center from being severely wounded in Afghanistan after an improvised explosive device destroyed his Humvee in September of 2009, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. $200,000 in donations, materials, construction work and labor to renovate Josh's family home to make it wheelchair accessible from 500-1000 volunteers which included fellow Marines, contractors under the umbrella of Northern Virginia Fuller Center for Housing. This handheld unfinished Flip Video that editing was never completed but captured just some of the many moments that made up that day. Rather than leave it sitting in the computer never released it was released unfinished to share a story of a community that came together to welcome home a hero. This was to be part one of that story and perhaps if there is a supporting interest I may finish editing and polishing it. Thank you all and especially thank you Marine Lance Corporal Josh Himan. Footage and editing by http://designermite.net/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpLNE9ejiWs
Lauren Jost August 11, 2011 at 12:05 PM
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unknownauthor May 09, 2013 at 07:35 AM
Marine Lance Corporal Josh Himan, I want to extend my appreciation and thanks for your service and commitment as a Marine in this country of USA. It is our brave troops, as yourself that through your commitment and sacrifice, that Americans freedom is secured. I thank our Lord for your return back home. I continue to pray for all our troops, especially for families whose lives have been impacted with tragedy or loss. God Bless you and your family. Thank you sir.


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