Connecticut-based Heber Alonzo Meraz offers a closer look at his personal and professional accolades.
As he prepares to run this year’s Hartford Marathon, retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Heber Meraz reflects on 20 years active duty service and shares more about his American Red Cross Lifesaving Award, State of Connecticut General Assembly Official Citation, and work as project coordinator for the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
A retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, Heber Alonzo Meraz grew up in El Paso, Texas, and Dodge City, Kansas, joining the Marine Corps in 1994, out of El Paso. “I was stationed in Japan for the first year,” he reveals, “then transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.”
Meraz served one tour in Iraq, and a second tour with a Marine expeditionary unit between 2007 and 2008. Marine expeditionary units are air-ground task forces in the United States Fleet Marine Force. “An expeditionary quick reaction force, Marine expeditionary units are deployed and ready for immediate response to any crisis, whether it be a natural disaster or a combat mission,” Meraz reveals.
During his 20 years active duty service, Heber Alonzo Meraz received an American Red Cross Lifesaving Award for saving the life of an individual who was choking. For saving the life of the woman, Meraz also received a State of Connecticut General Assembly Official Citation. “I’m immensely proud,” he says, “of both my American Red Cross Lifesaving Award and the subsequent State of Connecticut General Assembly Official Citation.”
Meraz also served as coordinator for the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in 2010, 2011, and 2012. “The Toys for Tots program was founded in the 1940s by reservist Major Bill Hendricks,” he explains, “and, to this day, aims to deliver, via a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less-fortunate youngsters which will assist them in becoming productive, responsible, and patriotic citizens.”
Since its inception, the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has successfully distributed more than half-a-billion new toys to around 250 million less-fortunate children throughout the country at Christmastime.
Following his retirement as a U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, today, Heber Meraz is a senior analyst with Sikorsky Aircraft in Shelton, Connecticut. He also boasts a keen community spirit, regularly organizing and hosting local neighborhood safety and lifesaving events in and around both Shelton and his nearby current place of residence, the Fairfield County town of Trumbull.
Furthermore, Meraz is a keen marathon runner, set to take part in this year’s Hartford Marathon. To be held this October, the event is already hotly anticipated by runners, families, charities, and volunteers in the capital of Connecticut and surrounding areas. “There’s a positive experience and a suitable distance waiting for all parties at the Hartford Marathon, including a 5K race,” Meraz suggests, wrapping up, “as everyone comes together in the heart of Connecticut for a truly unique and inspiring event.”