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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Associates at Summit Electric Supply contributed $2,365 in just five days for 150 soldiers serving in Baghdad, Iraq. The soldiers are A Company, 1st Battalion, from the Army National Guard based in Rio Rancho, N.M.
The money donated was matched by Summit, for a total of $4,730. The donation was used to buy 189 Army Air Force Exchange Services gift cards that the soldiers can use in their base stores.
Andrew Lucero, husband of Summit associate Mary Lucero, credit assistant supervisor, is serving with this unit. He works 12-hour days, six days a week, guarding Iraqi prisoners in a Baghdad jail, Mary said.
“We only hoped to raise $750,” she said. “One person donated $500. It’s overwhelming.”
The unit’s 1st Sgt. Gary Daniel volunteered to distribute the gift cards.
“It’s not about the money,” Mary said. “My husband said the soldiers will be really excited just to get something from home, and getting support from somebody you don’t even know. A lot of them are forgotten, especially at the holidays.”
Andrew Lucero has been in the National Guard for 16 years, only three on active duty. He left New Mexico in May and won’t return until May 2008. It’s the longest the couple has been apart, Mary explained. They have one 11-year-old son, also named Andrew. The children at his school, Calvary Christian Academy, made 150 Christmas cards and letters that were sent along with boxes of other donated items for the soldiers.
The idea to support the unit first came from one of Mary Lucero’s co-workers, Beth Petrey, who suggested the credit department donate money for the cause. But word spread.
Soon President and CEO Victor R. Jury Jr. heard about the effort and promised Summit would match whatever was raised. That word went out to all 20 Summit service centers in five states.