Spc. Miguel Olivero, an engineer with the 489th Engineer Battalion, attached to the 82nd Sustainment Brigade-U.S. Central Command Materiel Recovery Element, was looking on the website of a charitable organization that provides strings of Christmas lights to deployed units in Afghanistan. Instead, he found something that moved him emotionally.
“There was a posting for a 15 year-old boy in Iowa named Tyler Cross who has a rare skin disease and has been requesting military patches that can decorate his hospital room,” said Olivero.
“I figured he wasn’t getting a lot of responses, so I decided to start collecting patches for him,” added Olivero.
For nearly a month and a half, Olivero has been reaching out throughout his battalion and to Soldiers in the 82nd Sustainment Bde., CMRE for support with the patch drive.
Olivero’s efforts have met with a huge response, and there are more than 100 patches to prove it.
“When everyone sees this is for a child, they all want to donate,” said Olivero. “People just walk up to us out of the blue and give us patches,” he said.
“Our goal is to cover his entire hospital bed with patches,” said Staff Sgt. Christine Rogers, a supply sergeant for the 489th Forward Support Company, 489th En. Bn., who assisted with the effort. “We’re going to continue collecting patches as long as we’re out here.”
For their efforts, the troops involved in the recently dubbed “Patches for Tyler” patch drive received a special delivery of more than 50 patches from the 82nd Sustainment Bde., CMRE command group and a special visit from the brigade’s command sergeant major, who presented a coin to Olivero.
Here we are in combat every day, facing challenges of the combat theater and yet there are Soldiers like ours who are giving their support back to the folks who support us,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Alberto Delgado, senior enlisted advisor for the 82nd Sustainment Bde., CMRE. “To see the troops taking the time to think about this child really means a lot, not only for the child, but I’m sure for his parents as well. It’s good to show them that there are people in the world who care.”
Olivero and the troops from the 489th En. Bn. will be sending the first package of patches to Tyler just in time for the Christmas holidays.