Illinois military family gifted $2k to help with holiday expenses

It was an incredible holiday surprise for an Illinois military family.

On Wednesday, Fox Corporation and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation awarded the Coomer family with $2,000.

Theresa Coomer says her husband Marcus "loves me so deeply that I love myself that much more."

It is a love story that spans 15 years and began after Marcus returned from his service overseas. The Purple Heart recipient is a retired Army Corporal who was injured during a tour in Iraq.

"It's even hard for him to engage in normal life and that's even just being around me and the kids. So on those days we set up a special room for him to go into and take some time to process through some of the stuff that's going on in his head," said Theresa.

"He has memory issues, so left to his own devices, he would forget what’s going on. He would forget to eat. He would forget to go grocery shopping," she added.

Marcus suffers from damage to his spine and a traumatic brain injury, after surviving an improvised explosive device detonation while riding in a military tank.

Theresa has never left his side and cares for him and their two small children around the clock.

"I do a lot of juggling of my time. I'm able to pivot very easily when new things come up and just make things happen and work," Theresa said.

With the very little free time she does have, Theresa serves as a fellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s "Hidden Heroes" program, where she counsels other military caregivers.

"We are very connected in our pursuit for advocating for caregivers, our love of our wounded warriors and just love for each other," said Theresa of the program and its participants.


Theresa was awarded for her service with a surprise grant from the Foundation. The news was delivered via Zoom by Rashi Romanoff, the Vice President of Programs and Partnerships with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

"With the generous support of the Fox Corporation and the Fox family...We're going to be providing you with $2,000 dollars to help with extra gift giving and to help spread some holiday cheer this year," said Romanoff to Theresa.

It was the surprise of a lifetime for the family who lives in Paw Paw, Illinois.

"It's going to mean giving us breathing room that we haven't had in months. It's going to mean that I can go to the grocery store without having to wonder if my cards going to take us the whole way and get what I need for the kids," said Theresa.

It’s a small gesture of gratitude for an American family who has given so much to us all.

If you would like to learn more about the Hidden Heroes program or to register for support, you can go to