LCpl Jeremy Jay Mercado
Home Award Program Recipient
Marine Lance Corporal Jeremy Jay Mercado enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 2008, he was assigned as a mortar man with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines (Timberwolfe,1/2) at Camp Lejeune, NorthCarolina.
In March 2010, Lance Corporal Mercado’s unit was deployed to Afghanistan where it encountered heavy and repeated combat resulting in the tragic loss of several of his Marine brothers. In May, while he was investigating suspicious Taliban activity in his armored vehicle, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded leaving him unconscious and critically injured. His last memory of the incident is waking up in the helicopter during his medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) flight.
In and out of consciousness for a week, Lance Corporal Mercado eventually awoke to learn that he had sustained a C-5 Spinal Cord Injury, a grade 3 concussion, and shrapnel wounds to his face, arms and legs. From Germany he was transported to Maryland’s Bethesda Naval Hospital where he began his rehabilitation. While at Bethesda, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Conway, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Carlton Kent, personally awarded Jeremy his Purple Heart Medal.
Relying on that same toughness and resilience he acquired during his football years, Lance Corporal Mercado pushed himself through grueling physical therapy sessions. Incredibly, just three weeks after his injury, he was taking supervised steps with a walker; later he progressed to a cane, eventually walking unassisted.
In February 2011, Jeremy married Alyssa LaRosa of Oakville, Connecticut; the two had been friends growing up and reconnected shortly before Jeremy’s deployment. They now have two children. After learning about the opportunity of home ownership through Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program, Jeremy applied, and was later approved, as a home recipient candidate. He and his family received a mortgage-free home in Waterbury, Connecticut, conveniently located just minutes away from both Alyssa’s and Jeremy’s parents.
Jeremy feels fortunate that he has managed to overcome the physical difficulties brought on by his injuries, and is grateful that his financial burdens will be mitigated, too. The gift of a mortgage-free home helps ease the strain of providing for his growing family and allows him to continue focusing on his recovery. His plans include returning to school and becoming a gym teacher. Alyssa is also grateful to be living in her very own home; she would also like to return to school and become an ultrasound technician.