Two soldiers who received care packages while deployed are now involved with the organization

Two soldiers who received care packages while deployed are now involved with the organization
(Source: David Perez)
(Source: David Perez)

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - David and Enrique have been best friends for 26 years. But unlike most friends, they made a decision in high school that would change their lives forever.

"Went to my parents, told them thinking about joining the military," said Staff Sergeant Enrique Feliciano. "Of course my parents said, 'Heck no, you're going to war for somebody else.' I said no, it's for our country, for all of us."

Both joined the Army during their junior year and even deployed together.

"I was moving all over Afghanistan from one base, to the next base, to the next base," said Feliciano. "David was going convoys back here, back there, so we'd always miss each other."

And although they didn't see each other much during deployment, there was always one thing that helped keep them on their feet.

"I saw all these packages these fellow soldiers were getting," said Feliciano. "I was like man, these are companies from West Texas. It really hit a spot."

Care packages were sent that were filled with snacks, hygiene products, and written letters of motivation.

"When it comes from a stranger, a veteran, WW2 vet, Vietnam vet, they write a note saying, 'Keep doing a good job,' That picks up more morale than anything," said Perez.

The Honor Our Troops organization in Odessa, founded by Jim Leascher, sends out hundreds of care packages every week, shipping to troops all around the world. Being in the reserves, instead of receiving these packages, now they're the ones doing the packing.

"I made it a point to see Jim and thank him for what he's doing," said Feliciano.

The two say Honor Our Troops has not only given them the chance to help fellow brothers and sisters out, but showing others that a true friendship never dies.

"I've gone through some bad times, he's gone through some bad times, we've always been there for each other," said Perez. "We try to show younger people and tell them our stories, we tell them you don't have to do it by yourself. Grab your best friend, push each other, challenge each other to be better."

"I'll be here until HOT is here forever," said Perez. "I've seen both sides, so I know what it feels like."

To volunteer with the organization, they are open on 4044 Penbrook Avenue in Odessa from 9-4 p.m. You can drop off donations from travel-sized hygiene products, snacks, or even cash donations. You can call them at (432) 550-2468.

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