Specialist, U.S. Army
Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Technology at California College

Mari was born in the Philippines but moved to San Diego at 26 and enlisted in the Army a few years later.

While conducting a deployment training, Mari was hit in the head by a large steel pipe causing a severe concussion. She did not want her injury to hold her back, so she deployed to Iraq later that same month. During that deployment — just two days after President Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden — Mari was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mari contacted Sentinels of Freedom (SOF) for help in her transition to civilian life. SOF provided Mari with financial and personal support and connected her with a financial planner.

Mari earned her bachelor’s degree in health information technology at California College. Like a lot of wounded veterans, she is hoping to serve her community.

Mari has two sons who are also part of her motivation to pursue her dreams.

Santiago’s goal is to leverage his military experience and education into a leadership role for the veteran community. He continues to serve his nation in the Army Reserves as a Senior Instructor in the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy helping train the Army’s next generation of leaders. He also volunteers for several veteran service organizations and is a devoted husband and father of three children.

Bridge for Education Program


 Sentinels of Freedom’s Bridge for Education program helps severely wounded post-9/11 veterans with comprehensive personal support and financial assistance as they complete their higher education and achieve success in their post-military careers.

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Sentinels of Freedom has helped over 700 Veterans since 2007. Their stories are empowering and inspiring.


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