Diego Mercado and many wounded servicemen and -women have more than one thing in common — not only do they have prosthetic limbs, but they also find inspiration in each other.
As the son of an Army veteran, 10-year-old Diego has always wanted to be a soldier, but because this little boy was born with one leg and two fingers on his right hand, this dream felt unattainable.
But one day at a Ride 2 Recovery Wounded Warrior event, Diego saw service members missing limbs like him.
"At some point I maybe wanted to tell him that maybe he can't join the military because of his challenge," his dad, Jason Mercado, told News 4 San Antonio. "But as [the wounded soldiers] passed, they saw Diego with a prosthetic sitting out front, and one by one they stopped, they stopped. That day I knew I didn't have to tell him because he saw those guys out there, they were still active duty guys doing it."
Since then, Diego not only works out with wounded veterans, like retired Marine Jose Luis Sanchez, as a way to see that his body has no limits, but he and his dad have also started Team Diego. The mission of this father-son nonprofit is to bring awareness and support to wounded veterans, military families, and children with disabilities. The duo also regularly competes together in 5K races to support other Wounded Warrior nonprofit organizations.
"Just looking at him now. The potential is endless," said Jason.