A long held tradition of patriotism courses through Country Club, where American flags hang outside two-story homes within the suburban enclave.
And the neighborhood’s corner deli is no stranger to keeping a strong homefront during a time of war.
Barino’s Market at Ampere and Research avenues has been there for U.S. troops, keeping its thoughts especially on Staff Sergeant Joseph Lemm of Country Club, a Nebraska-born National Guard reservist sent back to Afghanistan on the eve of a heavy fighting season.
Owners Mike Barrett and Mo Aquino recently mailed a care package to Lemm, now stationed at Bagram Airfield.
Barrett had in mind bringing a piece of the Bronx deli to one of their favorite regulars well before Lemm flew back.
“We’ve had a lot of different people come in and ask us to donate stuff to different causes,” said owner Mike Barrett. “But this is the first time we actually, directly mailed it.”
Aquino saw the gesture of appreciation as symbolic, reminding folks the war is still real despite leaving the front pages these days.
“It’s to make people aware that there’s still something going on out there,” said Aquino.
He said that troops from Lemm’s base were thrilled to receive snacks from the Bronx.
Lemm, an NYPD cop assigned to the 43rd Precinct in the central Bronx, has been a loyal deli customer, often talking college football with Mike, another loyal fan.
“He used to come into the deli all the time, that’s how we got friendly,” recalled Mike, remembering Lemm visiting the store several times a week for some deli fare.
Longtime staffer Irene Feraca always referred to Lemm as “Superman” for bearing a similiarity to the comic book icon.
But for Feraca, the nickname also refers to Lemm’s heroic side — putting his life at risk even as he starts a family at home.
“To do all that is extraordinary,” said Feraca, who constantly keeps in touch with Lemm on Facebook.
The Bronx solider received the package of treats filled with snacks, dry meats and a mid-size banner reading “Barino Market – Thanks To Our Troops,” which Lemm and his troops signed and mailed back to Barino’s.
“It was a good change from the same chow hall food,” said Lemm in an email message.
But the gift was just the beginning. Aquino plans on sending more packages to their Bronx soldier.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383