SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The mother and sister of a local hero who died serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, is giving back to veterans through a clothing drive.
Back in 2004, U.S. Marine Corporal Joseph Heredia of Santa Maria died in a German hospital from wounds received in action.
Heredia worked two jobs, setting up banquet tables at the Santa Maria Inn and stocking shelves at a local grocery store. Shortly before his wedding, he enlisted.
Now his mother, Monica Diaz, is doing what she can to give back to the community.
Diaz and her daughter set up tables outside of three Central Coast Walmarts in Arroyo Grande, Lompoc and Santa Maria.
Her daughter, Monika Zendejas is the chairperson of the youth group committee called American GI Forum of Santa Maria and is organizing the drive.
"As a military family, I know what my boys needed when they were overseas and I know what they needed when they came home," says Diaz.
"I know what other veterans are going through and may need."
The clothing collected at each location will be given to veterans at the Santa Maria Fairpark during the Santa Barbara County Veteran Stand Down on October 12.