Dylan Merola was born the same year the first troops landed in Afghanistan in 2001. A resident of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, he was among three Marines recently lost from the Inland Empire region. The other two were Kareem Nikoui and Hunter Lopez.
Merola was a 2019 graduate of Los Osos High School. He worked as a theater technician during his high school years and was known to be extremely kind to others. Gil Zendejas, Chaffey Joint Union High School District board member said, “A lot of our students commit to the military after they get out of school and we’re so proud of all of them. Unfortunately, we have another Gold Star family in our district”.
Merola wanted to make a difference, a sentiment that seems to unite many who join the military.
Cheryl Rex, Merola’s mother, said that her son was planning to go to college and study engineering. She shared his final text message. In it, he wrote, “I won’t be able to talk for a little while, we’re being sent to a different location”. She responded to him saying “I love you and I’ll talk to you soon.”
At a memorial shortly after the bombing, Rex shared an emotional memory of her son always wearing military attire as a child. “He wanted nothing more than to become a Marine. He was one of the best kids ever. Kind. Loving. Giving to every single person.”
Of her new military family, she said “We have a bond that never goes away”.
Dylan’s best friend, Dakota Mancuso, shared in a prideful moment, “When he joined the military, I knew that he was going away, but I didn’t imagine that he wasn’t going to come back. I know you were going out for a purpose, (but) I could never have imagined what purpose found you in Afghanistan. I’m so proud, humbled and inspired by you. You saved so many people.”
Every time you use the CharityRx Card to save money on a prescription in September and October, we will donate to help the Fallen U.S. Service Members’ families.
Photos courtesy of:
Laurence Haim (Twitter) and Coffeeordie.com