Monday, August 31, 2009


Aviana has received another medal. This medal was given to her by Sgt. Merenda. He tells of how he received this honor best...

“I used to be in a Airborne unit which meant we jumped out of airplanes to go where ever we went. In March 1997, I was making a jump into Camp Leguene, which was suppose to be a airfield seizure training exercise. That jump I was carrying way more equipment in my rucksack than usual, actually it took two other guys just to help me get up once I had to carry it. Our jump was at 2 am and when I came down my rucksack was so heavy it became a anchor and before I landed I somewhat landed sideways. In the process, my back hit a stump on the ground and I was hurt extremely bad. In the event you get hurt, you are suppose the use a red glow stick so the medics can find you. The injury to my back pinched and compressed my spine which paralyzed me from the neck down. I could not pop open a red glow stick for the medics to find so I laid there yelling and then eventually stopped. Jumping out of airplanes in the army can be very dangerous and especially jumping into darkness. I was found approximately 3 hours later by my own unit. I was medivac to the local hospital and after examination; I was told it would be a miracle if I was able to use my arms and legs again. I called my family and let them know of the accident. I didn’t want to be in that condition for the rest of my life so I would lay there and fight to get up. A week later, I began to get all the feeling back into my arms and legs and very shortly after, I was back and running like it never happened. That is the hope I have for Aviana, no matter what doctors say, sometimes it’s all about her fight.”

“Also, the item your mom has is a St Michaels medallion. It was given to me during my time when I needed help the most, and I felt it was time to let whatever good luck that it has help Aviana. It is actually pretty small but just something I thought would help. I am not catholic but it’s funny to watch people reactions, paratroopers are given the St. Michael to help protect them while jumping.” Thank you Sgt. Merenda, we love you!!!


  1. I love Sgt. Merenda too! Out of tradgedy you have made friend for life....its just an amazing story!!!!

  2. What a great guy!!! My prayer is that God heals Aviana as He has healed the Sgt.

  3. I know I have been away for awhile, helping move my sister and also dealing with my health, but I have been thinking every day of you all. Tonight Richard let me know to read this blog, the story he gave, and it made me cry remembering that call we got, the helpless feeling as his mother,not able to run and be there for him either; so I feel for you, even thou he was a young adult, and she is still a child, you never stop feeling like a mother. I also hope this helps heal her. I feel horrible for all you are having to go thru, I mean it. It must mean something to have gone thru all of this. I know for one, our family has made close friedns with your family now.
    Love and gentle hugs,

  4. Here's to a similar story; what a sweet gesture and a great reminder to us all to keep praying for her healing, and her recovery continuing.

    Very inspiring story.

  5. That will mean so much to her throughout her life. I was given a class ring from one of my dads army buddies when I was a baby. I of course don't remember him but I still have the ring 38 years later and think of what a kind gesture that was for him to give that to me. He was killed in a helicopter crash that my dad was supposed to be on but in a twist of fate he was taken off the mission. I truly believe we are all kept on this earth to accomplish something. He had obviously done his duty and my dad had not. The same is true for Aviana-her work is not done-she has greatness ahead!