Marine Corporal Anthony Villarreal is a Lubbock native who was inspired to join the military after our nation was attacked on September 11, 2001. Anthony graduated from Coronado High School in 2003. He set aside his ambitions of continuing his education in order to fight for his country. Just a short three months after graduating high school he joined the United States Marine Corp. As Anthony was serving on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was badly injured.
On June 20, 2008 Anthony was on a routine run for water, mail, and food supplies. While on his way back to the forward operating base Anthony’s vehicle struck an IED with over 300 pounds of explosives and diesel fuel. Anthony was flown to an army base close by were they performed emergency surgery. He then was transported to Germany where he stayed on a ventilator to help keep him alive. Soon after, Villarreal was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas where he was placed in a drug-induced coma for 3 months. The doctors performed countless surgeries on Anthony’s body over the next two years, which included amputating his right hand, left fingers, and multiple skin grafts. The doctors also had to remove his ears and replace his eyelids. Over 79% of Anthony’s body sustained massive burns and he also suffers foot drop because of the nerves that were damaged in his legs. Anthony was released from the hospital and completed the rest of his therapy at the Center for Intrepid until he was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps on August 30, 2010.
Anthony and his wife Jessica were selected to receive a new home in 2011 by Operation Finally Home and the West Texas Home Builders Association. After moving into his new home, Anthony teamed up with the West Texas Home Builders Association to establish the “Lubbock Homes for Heroes” organization where he serves on the board. A spokesperson for the charity, Villarreal is one determined veteran who continues to make personal sacrifices in order to help his fellow man.
Anthony is a true American hero—“If I could be over there right now, I probably would be. Sometimes it makes me mad that I can’t,” he says. “But I did my duty. I completed my mission.”