Actor/wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson teamed up with Ford Motor Co. last Tuesday to present Army combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient Marlene Rodriguez with a fully customized 2018 Ford Mustang GT that they believed she very much deserved in combination with Ford’s “Go Further” community service award.
But when presented with the gift, Rodriguez looked back at Johnson in confusion and asked, “Why?”
“Because of everything you do,” he replied, to which she said, “I don’t deserve all this.”
He disagreed: “You deserve more.”
Indeed she did. Watch the amazing unveiling of the car below:
Rodriguez was more than just an exemplary combat veteran, though that in itself made her worthy of riches beyond words. She was also a Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War survivor.
“She medically retired in 2009 after surviving two roadside bomb explosions and a firefight,” The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote in a profile published four years ago. “A severe traumatic brain injury, back problems and post-traumatic stress disorder left her fully disabled. Despite all that, Rodriguez wanted to reconnect with military life.”
“I miss it so much,” she said at the time. “Just the structure, the discipline, the leadership. The honor.”
So she joined chapter 49 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, thus becoming the first woman ever to sign up for this particular San Diego-based chapter.
Yet, despite being a Purple Heart recipient, a disabled combat veteran and the first woman in chapter 49 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, she still felt unworthy of the gifts she received last week.
“Losing somebody and earning a reward — it didn’t mesh well with me,” she told the New York Daily News, referring to the death of the driver of a truck that was destroyed by a bomb while she was on board. “I mean, it’s an honor to have it, but to receive it, you know, I definitely just have more guilt than anything else because I was given it because of the loss of somebody else.”
Talk about an exceptionally humble woman — one from whom all the whiners and grievance-mongers at this past weekend’s 2017 Women’s March could learn much.
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