In a community that values commitment to service, there are times when good deeds go unnoticed. For one retired Marine and his service dog, a donation from the SNCO Wives Club on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was special enough that it called for a bit of recognition.
Manny Rivera is a medically retired veteran who, alongside his service dog Tank, tours across North Carolina on behalf of maCares. The organization is focused on helping with the costs associated with a service dog for veterans, children or adults who need them. That includes the cost of food and medical care. In his tour, Rivera noticed a way to help the organization.
“I went to an event in Greensboro with maCares and Market America and when I had gone the time before, they sold bags and totes,” said Rivera. “They were supporting the dogs. They also had uniforms, and I thought that was something we could use to help the cause locally.”
Enter Sandra Agosto and the SNCO Wives’ Club. From their thrift shop on Center Street, volunteers like Agosto provide service members and their families with a number of discount goods. Most notably, the organization had a plethora of uniforms. Rivera approached Agosto regarding a possible donation.
“I thought they would give me a couple pairs of pants,” Rivera said.
Instead, Agosto and the rest of the club donated 500 pounds of uniforms.
Rivera was stunned.
“People do things and don’t expect recognition,” Rivera said of Agosto and the club’s massive donation. “I figured I would give them something in return.”
During a short, impromptu ceremony at the SNCO Wives Club’s Thrift Store, Rivera and Tank presented Agosto with a shadowbox thanking the organization for its support. Agosto was flanked by fellow volunteers, with a few friends in attendance. A letter from maCares’ president was delivered as well. Agosto was thoroughly surprised.
“My heart feels so happy for this,” Agosto said.
For communities that support one another like MCB Camp Lejeune, simple gestures don’t have to be small. They might as well weigh 500 pounds.