This is part one of a two-part series.
Javier E. Ortiz wanted nothing more than to become a Marine. And after a humble beginning, he quickly devoted himself to the Corps. In return, he says he was stripped of his dignity and left to fight an uphill battle alone.
Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 22, 1994. He was a boy when his father left the family to build another. In search of the American dream, Ortiz moved with his mother and older brother to New York in November 2003. A month later, they moved to New Jersey and Ortiz entered the American school system. His mother’s cash stockpile slowly deteriorated as she cared for Ortiz, an older brother, and other family members in the home.
Taking the opportunity to live closer to his grandparents, Ortiz moved with his mother and brother to Kissimmee, Florida, in 2005. As his mother continued to struggle financially, he eventually was adopted by an aunt and uncle in 2007 who began to provide the stable environment he longed for...
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