Lehigh Valley

Marine's home treated to free Christmas makeover

GSgt. T.J. Mertz seriously injured during tour in Afghanistan

Marine's home treated to free Christmas makeover

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. - It's going to be a very merry Christmas for one Lehigh County family.

GSgt. T.J. Mertz, a Marine injured in Afghanistan, saw his home light up for the holidays Wednesday night.

Jennifer Mertz said her husband has always been a Christmas person.

"He always loved to decorate the outside, loved to decorate the inside," said Mertz.

But for the last three years, T.J. Mertz has been unable to fully get into the Christmas spirit.

Mertz's fourth tour in Afghanistan left him with traumatic brain and shoulder injuries, as well as PTSD.

When Mertz isn't at the doctor, he's usually working as the local Toys for Tots coordinator so children in need can have a merry Christmas.

That's one of the reasons Pennsylvania Lawn and Landscape Christmas Decor decided it would do what Mertz could not -- decorate the family home in Schnecksville for  Christmas.

"Soldiers sacrifice a lot. They miss their families a lot, especially during the holidays, especially for kids," said PLLCD's Bill Whitney.

While the crew hung the lights and wrapped the light post with garland,  Jennifer Mertz was inside decorating the tree.

She said she was excited to see the reaction of her husband and their two children when they got home.

It's going to be a very merry Christmas for the Mertz family and an even happier new year.

Next month, they will move into a mortgage-free home provided by Operation Home Front, an organization that provides homes for wounded warriors.

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