PLANT CITY, Fla. (FOX 13) - Suzanne Martinez doesn’t have to look far inside her house to see her husband Fernando's paintings. In fact, his work is all over it.
"He was very artistic -- extremely creative and very artistic. He was a very good artist, extremely good artist. He painted our daughter’s mural on her nursery wall. We get to reap the benefits, we get to surround us, we get decor in my house. We have personalized decor in my house," Suzanne told FOX 13 News.
Now, the Marine’s artwork has a much deeper meaning. In 2004, a van he was in crashed en route to the airport. Fernando, the front seat passenger, took much of the impact and suffered a double brain injury, putting him in a coma for two years.
"He wanted a gun; ‘Put me out of my misery.’ That’s not something you want to hear. It scared me. I had a lot of guilt in me. This is the face I hide from everybody because it’s hard, you know," Suzanne said.
A lot changed after the accident. There is one thing that didn't.
Through the Wounded Warrior Project’s Independence Program, there is a way of helping Fernando start to get back to what he did before the injuries.
Fernando has regular physical therapy sessions, which is helping him learn to walk again, but it’s the artwork that seems to be helping him the most.
"I'll say that we have art today and he'll get a smile on his face," Suzanne added.