NFA, Class of 2001.
MARINE GYSGT LUIS A. MERCADO JR.
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W e l c o m e
Posted May. 22, 2017
New Windsor mom, Luz Mercado, started the foundation, ÒSupport Our Heroes, when her son Marine GYSGT Luis Mercado Jr. was stationed in Iraq and started to share items from packages his mom sent him to fellow soldiers who told him of some of the simple pleasures they were missing from home.
Lucy Mercado, New Windsor, is preparing to ship items to military service members as part of her foundation, Support Our Heroes. She supports three platoons in Afghanistan.
November 19, 2008
Que Pasa?: Support Our Heroes sends parcels to troops abroad
By Carmen Ramos
NEW WINDSOR - This year Thanksgiving will be routine for many people, but for Luz Mercado the holiday will never be the same until her son, U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Luis A. Mercado, returns from deployment overseas.
"It's been forever," said Luz. Her son was first deployed for the war in Iraq in 2004.
That was also the year Luz started a nonprofit organization, Support Our Heroes, which she still runs out of her home in New Windsor in an effort to provide the troops overseas with some of the necessities people at home take for granted.
At first, the organization received donations that allowed Luz to send packages to Iraq daily, but over the last three years, donations dwindled and are now almost nonexistent.
The lack of support has forced Luz to do whatever she can on her own, which means buying a little extra of everything from snacks to toiletries when she does her shopping, then coming up with the money for delivery to Iraq.
When Luz recently sat down to review receipts from purchases she made with the troops in mind and the postage she paid to have the items delivered, she came up with a total of about $1,000 over the course of a few months, not including any receipts she may have lost.
"I understand the economy is bad right now, but people are still shopping. We're struggling, but we have our freedom because of (the troops)," said Luz. "If life is rough for us, how much worse can it be for them?"
It's during times like these that Luz wonders if it is worth it to continue her efforts. But then she stands firm in her commitment to her son and the troops, to follow through with the supplies until the war is over.
"How am I gonna stop? There are people in the military that don't get anything from their own families," Luz said.
Snacks, writing pads, pens, blank greeting cards, body wash, tampons, puzzle books, tuna lunch packs and powdered energy drinks are some of the items Luz looks forward to shipping to Iraq during the holiday season.
On Thanksgiving, many people will have the usual things to be thankful for. Luz will be grateful that her son is alive. She will be grateful for the support of her family and friends. She will be grateful for her freedom.
Ricardo Rios, Jr.