NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WJW) – He fought for his country with honor and courage, and now a local Purple Heart veteran is being repaid in a small way for his service.

In 1969, 22-year-old Richard Turchek of Cleveland found himself on the other side of the world in a U.S. Marine Corps platoon, assigned to combat duty in Vietnam.

During a patrol one day, his sergeant stepped on a land mine and was badly injured.

Richard Turchek was hit in the leg by shrapnel from the blast, but he and another Marine were able to pull their sergeant to safety.

As a result of the injuries he suffered, Turchek was awarded the Purple Heart.

He still thinks about that day quite often. Turchek told Fox 8, “We never leave a Marine behind, so matter what it was, it was just training and instinct that we went in there to save one of our own.” Richard Turchek came home from the war, married his sweetheart Jan and they eventually moved into a quiet neighborhood in North Olmsted.

Richard always took pride in their home, but he says at 75 years old, he can no longer keep up with repairs.

“The house was built in 1960, so here you are, 60-some years later and we painted it twice but at my age, I couldn’t get up there anymore, so I needed help,” he said.

When a fellow Marine learned that Turchek was concerned about the condition of his home, he told Richard about an organization, ironically named Purple Heart Homes, that tries to help veterans in their time of need.

When the president of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Purple Heart Homes heard Richard and Jan’s story and discovered that Richard was an actual Purple Heart veteran, he placed the renovation of the Turchek home first on his list of veteran projects to be completed.

“They’re just unselfish people and it’s very nice, especially the way Vietnam vets were treated when they came home, to give something back to them to make their life comfortable,” said John Keating. Richard’s story inspired the good folks at Wagner Home Improvement in Fairview Park to donate a portion of their work on the renovation.

The Purple Heart project has given Richard Turchek some peace of mind, something his fellow veterans say he earned long ago.

“Oh, it means a whole lot, because I’m at the end of the road you know, so I’m just trying to make the best of it and make sure my wife is set in case something happens to me,” he said.