"It brought back memories from when I was in Bosnia," said Eric Mercado. "I remember driving around and seeing homes exploded - like torn to pieces. And, it triggered a lot of things in me. I remember coming back home in 2000, and I was like, man, we're lucky here in the United States. We're not having a war - we're not being bombed in our backyard like they are."
Eric Mercado served 27-years in the U.S. Army.
He now owns MERC Performance Wear, a hunting and fishing clothing company.
Mercado attended recent protests at the state capitol and, decided he was going to help outfit civilian fighters in Ukraine. This week, Mercado sent 30 camouflage hoodies to the Ukrainian embassy in Belgium, which will then send them off to Ukraine.
And, he's designed and ordered a special camo hoodie, with a sewn-in gaiter, using the colors and pattern, closest to what the Ukrainian military wears.
"It gives concealment from a good distance," said Mercado. "And, it could mean a matter of life and death. The more concealed you are, you're better hidden in the background of your area. It's harder for the enemy to see you. So, you have a little bit more of a chance. It will give them more hope as well."
Mercado says he will continue to raise money, to send these camo hoodies to Ukrainian civilians, as long as the war continues. Any money that is left over will be donated to recovery or humanitarian efforts.
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