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Operation Thumbs Up

Marine Cpl. Tyler Southern and Ashley Statti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- They are proof true love really exists. Two legs and two arms are not a requirement for a Jacksonville girl in love with a local marine. Marine Cpl. Tyler Southern is a triple amputee, almost killed when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. Now First Coast News is throwing the couple a "Hero's Wedding."

Tyler, and his fiancee, Ashley Statti, never asked for anything. We just decided they deserve the most wonderful wedding possible.

You may remember Tyler's homecoming in August last year. Thousands lines the roads and highways to escort Tyler to his parents' home in Mandarin. It was a total surprise to Tyler. He "thanks Jacksonville from the bottom of my heart."

"I could have died. I should have died," he says. But he's grateful to be alive and in love.

He plans to spend 20 more years in the Marines as a motivational speaker after he completes 18 additional months of rehab. The couple will live in St. Johns County.

Ashley was an ROTC friend of his at Mandarin High School and they had not seen each other in years but when Ashley heard about his accident, she wrote him a letter. Tyler says he read it over and over. It was a big spark to the beginning of a big romance.

So how can you help?
  • Send your best wishes on our online guest book
  • To volunteer with the building of the new home, contact:
    Jennifer Fiorentino
    Marketing Manager for Projects
    Homes for Our Troops
    6 Main Street
    Taunton, MA 02780-2733
    Phone: (508) 823-3300, Ext. 210
    Fax: (508) 823-5411
Operation Thumbs Up Stories

Building a New Home for Tyler Southern | SLIDESHOWS

11:01 PM, Aug 12, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Professional or just a good, hard worker - however you describe yourself - is just perfect to help in our new project, "Home For Our Hero."

First Sneak Peek! Tyler Southern's House Finished | SLIDESHOW

9:42 PM, Nov 23, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- Thanks to the generosity and skills of hundreds of local volunteers, Tyler Southern's new home is finished and today the young marine gets to see it completed for the first time.

Tyler Southern Gets 'Tummy Tuck' on his Arm

10:05 PM, Sep 22, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tyler Southern, a local marine who's now a triple amputee, is celebrating another victory.  He can now point with the index finger on his one remaining hand.

Do You Want to Meet Tyler Southern?

11:15 AM, Sep 20, 2011

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- You have a chance to talk personally with hometown hero, Tyler Southern, Saturday. at the Ashley Furniture Store on Blanding Blvd.  Tyler and his new bride will be there to visit with folks on Saturday at 1pm.

Tyler Southern to Honored at Jags Game, Says Terrorists Can't Win

6:16 PM, Sep 10, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tyler Southern talks about his own sacrifice for the protection of fellow soldiers as the country nears the 10-year mark of 9/11.

Love Cars? Support Tyler Southern? This is for You

3:09 PM, Sep 2, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's the first Annual Exotic and Luxury Car Show and organizers pledge all proceeds will benefit Homes For Our Troops and Tyler Southern's new home, under construction now by volunteers.

Tyler Serenades New Bride in Home Under Construction

10:14 PM, Aug 15, 2011

St. Augustine, FL -- Tyler Southern is so excited about his new home being built as a gift that he broke into song and serenaded his new bride in their shower-to-be at the construction site.  It's one more instance of how this triple amputee is letting nothing squash his spirit.

How To Donate Money to Tyler for Furniture

10:32 AM, Aug 12, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Construction on a new house for Tyler Southern is underway, and now there's a volunteer effort to make sure Tyler and his new bride have furniture. Any donations you make will be matched by Ashley Furniture. Here's how to donate.

Fill the Quilt! How to Put Your Message on Tyler's Quilt

12:24 PM, Aug 1, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Volunteers say they have a great start, but they still need help "filling the quilt" for Tyler Southern, the local marine, now a triple amputee.

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