A wonderful reader sent me this story from the Houston Chronicle:
PFC. Kristian Menchaca’s family members gently pelted him with questions during what would be his final visit home from Iraq.
“Do you need anything? What can we send you?”
With a sheepish grin, he answered:”junk food.”
Snacks such as Cheetos and Oreo cookies are hard to come by in a war zone, Menchaca explained to his family during his leave in May.
Menchaca’s family, however, never had a chance to send him the care package. Less than a month later, the 23-year-old and another soldier were captured at a checkpoint June 16 near the town of Yusufiya. Menchaca’s brutalized body was discovered three days later, booby-trapped and tied to the remains of Pfc. Thomas Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore.
Houston cousins whom Menchaca grew up with were determined to honor his memory by dispatching care packages to his 101st Airborne Division buddies who remain in Iraq.
“This is one of the last things he asked of us,” said Grice, a data analyst. “He’s not there but his friends are.”
Last week, 16 packages of snacks, toiletries and other items were shipped to Iraq. In each box she sends, Grice includes a plain white sheet of paper with the words in black ink: In Memory of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca.