Photos by Vintage Lens Photography
A wounded military man and his wife receive the wedding they never had the chance to have.
Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Daniels is currently in his 12th year of active duty, having been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan throughout his military service – but this isn’t the only thing that makes him a strong person. Mark and his beloved, Jesca, privately tied the knot in 2009 just one month after losing their first-born child, Jaxon. As with so many other active-duty military members and veterans, Mark’s service made scheduling “normal” milestones a challenge: something many civilians don’t have to think much about; however, the couple proceeded with their lives, as did their two daughters, Aurora and Annaliliy.
Unfortunately, in June of 2013 – just two days after his youngest daughter had heart surgery – Mark and his K-9, Aura, were hit by an IED while returning from patrol, resulting in injuries for them both. After the trauma, he was awarded a Purple Heart in addition to being offered medical retirement, which the experienced Marine denied, still going on his tour in Japan. Notified of this brave man’s journey, Hope For The Warriors®, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family, and hope to service members, decided to step in.
One of the nonprofit’s programs, A Warrior’s Wish®, wanted to do something special for Mark and Jesca. Focusing on honoring the goals and desires of severely wounded service members and their families, the program helped the pair achieve the wedding they didn’t get to have with a dream vow renewal exactly four years after Mark and Aura received their injuries.
“We are amazed and honored to know that A Warrior’s Wish® is available to so many wounded military members; giving opportunities for dreams to come true is truly a beautiful mission,” Jesca says. “On a more personal note, we are eternally grateful and humbled for the opportunity to celebrate our love and life with the people that we love. We would not have been able to make this happen without Hope For The Warriors. This whole experience will be one our family will cherish for the rest of our lives.”