Detroit 2020 Person of the Week: Dearborn Heights' Marine returns home to serve

Sgt. Joseph McGinnis

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) - For many in the military, one of the benefits of service is the opportunity to see the world. Of course all that traveling is bound to make you homesick but that’s what makes returning that much sweeter.

Just ask Marine Corps Sergeant Joseph McGinnis. His return to Dearborn Heights just happened to coincide with Detroit's first-ever Marine Week!

“Coming back here, just smelling the Michigan air, It’s like, “Yeah, I’m back home.”

At just 23, he’s been around the world and back.

“I went to Spain. I was in Italy, Greece, Africa and Egypt.”

He’d be the first to tell you, there is no place like home no matter where you go.

“Those Better Made chips! I think that’s a Michigan thing. I haven’t had those in a while.”

He left Dearborn Heights for boot camp five years agO; not long after breaking the news to his folks. His father James remembers vividly.

“My wife had a hard time with it. I did too but I knew if that’s what he wanted to do,  I had to let him do it.”

But after seeing their son walk across the famed Parris Islands Parade Deck and becoming a United States Marine there was a change of heart.

“I did shed a tear. I get choked up now about it just thinking about it. Yeah a very proud moment.”

Strong emotions like that are not uncommon in military families; especially during deployments.

“FaceTime helped out a lot. It was stressful time. We had some trouble back here. My wife was going through breast cancer and with him being deployed and that. I was a stressfull time.”

But things are better now and Sgt. McGinnis or Joey as he’s known here, is back home. But he’s not on leave or even here for Detroit’s first Marine Week. Joey or Sgt. McGinnis as he’s known here to the Marines he trains as a marshal arts instructor just got orders to Selfridge Air National Guard Base!

Getting stationed all but in his home town is due in large part to Sgt. McGinnis’ hard work and dedication to the Corps but it also took a loot of good luck and timing. Although he gives most of the credit to someone else.

“It was actually my girlfriend who said why don’t you call and see if there’s opening’s at Selfridge. I did call before I deployed and there were openings so I called and the monitor asked, ‘Is this where you want to go?’ I said yeah and he switched my orders after like 15 minutes on the phone with him.”

And just like that he’s back home and for the next three years he’ll be creating new memories with his girlfriend and they baby they have on the way, and the rest of his family. All while serving his country. That’s why he’s our Detroit 2020 Person of the Week.

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