Two of our longtime friends, Colleen and John Rose, are the perfect example of what it means to be resilient. 

After meeting at Camp Lejeune and dating for 5 years, Colleen and John were married in a small courthouse ceremony before his deployment to Afghanistan, with the plan to have a larger celebration upon his return. However, in May of 2010, John was involved in an explosion that left him with significant injuries and a long road to recovery.

John’s injuries forced Colleen into a caregiver role, and forced John into a “new normal” that left him missing the physical and social aspects from his time in the Marine Corps. This is when HOPE became a part of their story. We provided John with a recumbent bike that allowed him to continue his physical recovery and connected him to a network of fellow veterans that brought back the camaraderie he was missing.

In the midst of this recovery, just before John was planning to rejoin the fleet, a parade float they were riding on was hit by a train, killing 4 other veterans and leaving Colleen with a fractured collarbone, elbow, and sacrum. Four years later, she was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy treatment. Throughout these hardships, their roles were reversed, and John took on the role of caregiver for Colleen. Despite the adversity they faced, their love remained strong, and they never lost HOPE. 

Today, both Colleen and John (now retired) are happy and healthy and share their lives with their precious son. Their story is truly one of overcoming adversity and embodying what it means to be resilient, and we are honored to be a part of it.

To read Colleen’s account of their journey, visit