HAVERHILL — Dennis Moriarty knows exactly what it's like to walk in the boots of Marines serving in Afghanistan. So when his longtime friend Marine Sgt. Eric Andrukaitis asked him to send care packages for him and his men, Moriarty knew just what they wanted: Energy bars and peanuts to snack on while out on patrols, jump ropes for use in the gym during their free time, and calling cards for staying in touch with family back home.
"If you knew what they are going through, you wouldn't hesitate to help," said Moriarty, a Haverhill police patrolman who served with the Marines in Operation Desert Storm. "You have to help them and let them know they are not forgotten."
Andrukaitis, a Haverhill native serving with the Marine Reserves in Kabul, Afghanistan, had reached out to his friend Moriarty, hoping he might be able to send some items to the Marines. Moriarty collected items and was seeking help from his fellow police officers to raise $250 — the cost of sending the items.
But when word spread among the officers, it wasn't long before Moriarty had collected nearly $1,400.
"Almost everyone at the station kicked in $20, from the deputy on down," Moriarty said.
But it didn't end there. Three emergency room nurses at Merrimack Valley Hospital collected $300. Family members of Marines whom Moriarty knows reached out as well, including one mother who arranged for AT&T to donate hundreds of dollars in calling cards.
Andrukaitis contacted The Eagle-Tribune recently to say how happy he was at the outpouring of support.
"Dennis is sticking by the motto 'Once a Marine, Always a Marine,''' Andrukaitis said. "He has told me since he can't be here he wants to support me any way he can. It's nice to know that the troops aren't forgotten."