As Corporal McMahon continues treatment for severe burns, the community is coming together to help…

September 15, 2017

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

UPDATE: As Jake continues to recover in San Diego, family, friends and the community are rallying around this amazing family.   The truth is, Jake will have a long road to recovery. Friends have started a Gofundme page to help get the McMahon family though this difficult time – helping with travel expenses for family members and compensating for work missed. If you would like to help – here is A LINK.  


It’s a terrible thought.

A call in the middle of a Wednesday morning. Your son, your only child – A Marine – is hurt in an explosion.  It’s difficult to imagine.

But, it’s what happened to Sean and Maryanne McMahon this week. The couple immediately left their Grand Island home – knowing very little – but, bound for California.

Fourteen Marines and one Navy sailor were hospitalized after their amphibious vehicle caught fire during a training exercise at a military base.

Three of the injured were listed in critical condition Wednesday afternoon at the Burn Center at the University of California San Diego Health and five were in serious condition.  Four other Marines were rushed to the University of California Irvine Medical Center in nearby Orange County, including two in critical condition there.

Corporal Jacob McMahon was one of those injured.


Jake says there was a fire – and they all worked to get out – moments after they’d escaped – the vehicle exploded. But the fire did its damage – severely burning those Marines. Including Corporal Jacob McMahon who is being treated in a burn ward at UC San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest.

The 21-year old was burned on his face, neck and hands.

His mom tells me that her son is one of the lucky ones.

The young Marine is taking this like a true hero. And he is.

They all are.

Corporal McMahon and the others helped one another, saved each other, went back in to help those in need. It’s astounding to think about that. But, it is what happened.

Sean and Maryanne refuse to let this be a sad story. They don’t want tears. Or pity. They aren’t crying, asking, “Why my son?”

They are thankful. And grateful. And more than anything – proud of their son and his unit.

This picture of Jake says it all. Through the burns – through the pain – his spirit soars. You can see it – in this picture.

I’ve known the McMahons for a very long time. Jake has gone to school with my daughter, Maria since Kindergarten – so 15 or so years.  I’m not at all surprised by the strength of this family.

I’m not at all shocked at how concerned they are for everyone else; those other Marines. Their families. Their friends. Their unit.

It’s just who they are.

Jake proudly serves and even now – has no regrets.

When Maryanne called me on her way to the airport Wednesday I was amazed at how calm she was. She was getting ready to board a plane – to go see her son who’d been in an explosion. They didn’t know what to expect.  What they’d see. How bad things were.

They arrived and found their brave, loving son – they made a plan of action with the medical staff.

This story should make us all pause. Reflect.

These are young Marines – serving US. Helping to protect US. All of US. How grateful we should be.

Jake’s parents are by his side – helping him.

He is helping them, too. Showing them how strong he can be. How strong he is.

Maryanne is grateful for the support of the Marine Corps. They’ve had two Marines stationed outside of Jake’s door since the moment he arrived at the hospital. They’re grateful to Wounded Warriors – who’ve come to show support, too.

Regardless of Jake’s strength, determination and incredible spirit – he does have a long road ahead. He will recover, but it will take time. His parents hope for prayers. They hope that you will send positive thoughts and prayers to their son.

They hope that you will see this story the way they do.

One of heroism.

One of patriotism.






About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






  1. Avatar

    This was a nice story and a sad one all at the same time. I hope he recovers fully. Thoughts are with him, his family, and the other marines.

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    He is such a brace soldier, so proud of his strength. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, we are here for you if there is anything we can do. He is a soldier that makes our country proud❤️

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    Dear family being a mom of a vet who served in Desert Shield/Storm my heart goes out to your son his soldiers friends and the family.You all are in my thoughts and prayers God Bless! !

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    Jake first Thank you for your service! I remember how determined you were in High school and I know you will get through this. It will be tough but you are a tough person. May God watch over you and heal you quickly. Sending lots of prayers..
    Mrs. C

  5. Avatar

    Mary that was the most beautiful story I was bawling my eyes out by the end Ilove you for how nicely you wrote about my family thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart

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    Our prayer is that God will reach His healing hand down to touch each one of these brave Marines, physically, mentally, emotionally as they work hard to recover. We pray for wisdom for the Drs., nurses, techs and everyone else taking care of them. We pray God’s peace that passes all understanding to surround each one that was injured and their families. We pray for traveling mercies as families come and go to be with each one. We pray that each soldier and family member would know and feel the closeness and love of their heavenly Father. We thank you all, especially Jake, for your service to this country and to each other.

  7. Mary Friona

    Thank you, Mary. Sending love to you all. xo

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    Beautiful story, Mary. You portrayed the McMahons perfectly. Caring & compassionate towards others even through their pain. Jake is a wonderful young man and I’m proud to know him!

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    Thank you for your service Jake. I pray for all of your quick recovery. I’m so sorry this happened to all of you. My son is a Marine over in Camp Pendleton also. My heart started beating extra hard when I heard of the accident. I was relieved my son was not involved but I was heart broken about the Marines that were. You will all be in my prayers. ??❤️??

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    Thank you for your service jake!!
    I wish you a quick and full recovery!!
    And to both mom and dad jake is very lucky to have you two by his are all in my prayers! Stay strong!! Only love, From one marine family to another

  11. Avatar

    God Bless Marine ! Speedy recovery to you and all the other injured Heroes .Much love,thoughts and Prayers from the Boston,Mass and New Hampshire areas??

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    My thought and prayers are for these young brace souls! They are true heroes and they will all be in my heart. May they recover completely my best of wishes for all families of our heros!

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    My thought and prayers are for these young brave souls! They are true heroes and they will all be in my heart. May they recover completely my best of wishes for all families of our heros! ??

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    Prayers for recovery of all those marines and all who put their lives at risk to protect us.

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    This story should be an inspiration to us all. Thank you Corporal for your service and i pray for a full recovery for you amd your brothers. My son is also stationed at Camp Pendleton and is a Marine so this story hits home hard. My heart and prayers are with you and your family!

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    Well 1st of all id like to thank you for your service. I pray God continues to bless you with strenghth and encouragment. Prayers for full quick recovery. So happy things were not worse.

  17. Avatar

    This was such a beautiful piece showcasing courage and love in the face of horrible circumstances. Is there an address where we can send cards? Again, thank you for this story.

  18. Avatar

    My prayers go out to Corporal McMahon and all his fellow comrades, as well as my nephew Bryan Vasquez that was also in that explosion! God heal each n everyone! God bless! ??

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