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The Toilolo Family

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Lavon, Texas

Project Status

In Progress

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Semeli Toilolo

Born and raised in Vailoa, a small village in American Samoa, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Semeli Toilolo of Killeen, Texas, served his country for more than a decade. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Margaret, in 1998, Toilolo joined the U.S. Army in 2000. During his military career, Toilolo served four active-duty deployments to Iraq.

During Toilolo’s second deployment to Iraq in 2007, he and his unit were patrolling a crowded market street when a suicide bomber moved inside their formation and detonated a bomb, wounding Toilolo and his entire squad. Despite his own injuries, Toilolo quickly came to the aid of his fellow soldiers. His actions saved seven lives.  After recovery and two additional deployments, Toilolo medically retired from the military in 2014.

Toilolo suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for which he has sought intensive residential rehabilitation through the Traumatic Stress Disorder Recovery Program. He also lives with the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as well as sleep apnea, tinnitus and significant pain due to arthritis and arthrosis.

In recognition of his valiant service, Toilolo has been honored with a Purple Heart. Other recognitions and commendations include three Army Commendation Medals and one Army Commendation Medal with V Device, four Army Achievement Medals, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, seven Overseas Service Bars, and four Iraq Campaign Medals with Campaign Stars, among many others.

Toilolo and Margaret are the parents of five children, including two grown sons who are currently serving in the U.S. Army. The couple is also helping to raise four grandchildren.

Active in his church and an Ordained Chaplain, Toilolo received his BA in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in Philosophy and Masters of Art’s in Christian Ministry from Grand Canyon Theological Seminary University.  Currently he serves as a Lay Minister, District Director for Christian Ministries, and Sunday School teacher for the Samoan Congregational Christian Church as well as the Vice President for the Hope 4 Justice nonprofit organization catering to victims of trauma using Bible curriculums.

Operation Finally Home is honored to partner with Trophy Signature Homes and MA Partners with providing Staff Sergeant Semeli Toilolo and his family with a mortgage-free home in Lavon, Texas.

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