One former Marine received a special gift on the morning of the Marine Corps Birthday.
Local active duty, reserve and former Marines, as well as hundreds of other volunteers from across the Kansas City area flocked to the home of former Staff Sgt. Daniel Gilyeat here Nov. 10 to take part in the presentation of this gift.
Gilyeat, a wounded Iraq war veteran who served with the 24th Marine Regiment and a single father of four, was selected to be showcased on the hit show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” where he was given a rebuilt home free of charge.
Countless volunteers from across the community spent an unimaginable amount of man-hours helping to rebuild the dilapidated home throughout the week of Nov. 3-10. Among those volunteers were Marines from Gilyeat's previous unit, 24th Marines, as well as members of the 9th Marine Corps District and Mobilization Command.
The Marines also added a touch of class to the show’s traditional “reveal” ceremony that presents the owner with his new home.
A color guard detail raised a new set of flags, one American and one Marine Corps, on Gilyeat’s new flagpole.
Cpl. Donald Akin, an administrative clerk for 9th MCD and member of the color guard, said he felt proud of Gilyeat and was honored to be part of the ceremony.
“I wanted the ceremony to be perfect for his sake. After all he’s been through, he deserved it,” Akin said. “It was very patriotic. With all the people there, it gave us goose bumps.”
Following the flag raising, the 32 Marines lined the street in front of Gilyeat’s new home, where they provided an entryway and salute for Gilyeat’s arrival in a limousine.
Gilyeat was overwhelmed by the sight of the 32 Marines in their dress blues, comprising all ranks, standing tall and giving their respects beside the sight of his new house, he said. He was sure to shout out a loud, gracious “ooh rah” at the top of his lungs to express his appreciation.
“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “It felt like that day on the battlefield when I knew I would survive death.”
Gilyeat is a “highly respected” Marine and truly deserved the ceremony and the new home, according to Maj. Mike. J. Corrado, the acting company commander for Headquarters Company, 24th Marines, who led the platoon.
“We were proud to be there, proud to be part of it,” he said.
“It’s truly amazing,” Gilyeat said about his new home. “You can feel how warm and positive the energy flowing through the home is.”