I met a number of brave and honorable people while filming this season’s Lidia Celebrates America, and Marlene Rodriguez is truly amazing. Seeing her now, you might not understand how she earned the prestigious Purple Heart award as she is healthy, athletic and does not wear her scars physically. However, Marlene’s war wounds run deep, but through her incredible warrior like heart and strength, she has learned to work through them.
At war, Marlene lost comrades, was in two IED explosions, and developed traumatic brain injuries which left her with a seizure disorder, mood swings and depression. Dealing with these problems was hard, but Marlene is a fighter – and she’s come out on top. Using her natural love for sports and the outdoors, Marlene has discovered many ways to control the mental and physical side effects of her time in the army. She’s rehabilitated herself, and in doing so, found a love for rehabilitating others effected by war or injury. If you have not yet watched Lidia Celebrates America – Holiday for Heroes, I urge you to learn more about Marlene and the other amazing veterans I met while making the film.
Marlene Rodriguez is one of only 500 women to be awarded the Purple Heart. Watch Video