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      Veteran loses wife after house struck by lightning

      Most of the people that were at Raul Vera's home in Mercedes all had something in common; they honor the red, white and blue. Many served in wars, fighting for this country. "The flag represents everything that we hold near and dear as veterans of the armed forces that is our most sacred symbol," Americas Last Patrol member Mario Llanas said.

      The group helping with Operation Clean-up is fighting for something else.

      They are trying to help a man who lost it all, and will now have to rebuild his life that was shattered after lightning struck his house and set it ablaze a week ago.

      Not only did the disaster destroy all Vera owns, but left his wife, Martina severely burned on more than 50 percent of her body.

      Pictures are the treasured memories Raul Vera wants to recover, it TMs all he has left of his late wife 78- year-old Martina Vera.

      "They had disconnected her yesterday from life support and they were monitoring her, keeping her as comfortable as possible and I guess checking to see if she would improve but she kept getting steadily worse," Mercedes Veterans War Memorial Irma Agueros said.

      With no signs of improvement Raul Vera made the hardest decision he TMs had to make in his 89 years, taking his beloved Martina off of life support.

      She died early Saturday morning.

      "He was happy with his wife and then all of sudden this happens. He kept saying, ~es lo que Dios manda TM, you take whatever he sends and you try not to question it because you will go crazy trying to figure out why, why did it happen?" Agueros said.

      During the painful times, veterans couldn't let their brother down.

      "We need to show the unity that we have as veterans for one another, we need to help each other out no matter how old or how young, from the youngest recruit to the oldest members of the armed forces and basically that TMs it, it TMs American pride," Llanas said.

      Irma said Raul is humbled by how much the community is helping especially as he prepares to deal with the biggest loss of all, the love of his life.

      Funeral arrangements have not been set.

      If you'd like to help the Vera family, donations can be made at the Texas National Bank in Mercedes under the name of Raul Vera.

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