El Mariachi co-owner named Community Service Hero

Nov 2, 2020

Luis Contreras, the late owner of El Mariachi, has been awarded the Red Cross Community Service Hero Award.

During his life, he gave extensively to the community, and he died while helping others. He pulled over on Rte. 495 at about 1 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2019, to help a family who had become stranded in the middle lane after hitting a deer with their car. As he walked toward their car, he was struck and killed by another driver.

“It is no surprise that Luis passed away by trying to do the right thing and help someone who needed it most,” wrote Seth Dugal of Eastern Bank in a letter nominating Contreras for the award.

“Through the years, Luis has donated to countless causes in town,” Dugal wrote. “He donated and helped deliver turkeys at Thanksgiving, he has donated his time, money, and gift cards to his restaurant for different fundraisers and town events.” 

Oscar and Kathleen Delgado met Contreras when he hosted an all-you-can eat fundraiser for the home they ran for child trafficking survivors in Mexico.

“Luis lived heroically every day. He actually would be embarrassed because the things he did were never for recognition, and, if you knew him, you knew he loved to help, serve, and lift others up in their worst of times with no recognition at all,” the Delgados wrote. 

At that fundraiser, so many people showed up that the restaurant ran out of food. Instead of shutting down the event, he sent staff to grocery stores to purchase more food.

“Any person who came in, he knew their story: The good, the bad, and the hard. In a time when people have a hard time connecting, everyone connected with Luis because he made sure they knew no matter who they were, [they were] important,” the Delgados continued.

Contreras provided wheelchairs to those in need in Mexico, provided rides and transportation to those who needed it, and often gave meals to people or families in need.

He also was a supporter of many community programs and events, including Wareham Soccer, the Wareham Gatemen, the DARE program, and the Cranberry Coast Concert Summer Series.

“Whether he donated money, or provided the catering services, he also on his own time, would quietly, generously, partake and provide at food shelters and pantries in neighboring communities. He was an honest, humble person, and did not want credit or acknowledgement for his contributions, as it was more he felt compelled to answer to a need in the community,” wrote Patricia McGarry, of the Arc of Cape Cod.

As the anniversary of Contreras’ death nears, the staff of El Mariachi asks community members to honor the state’s covid restrictions and honor Luis by ordering take-out and leaving a generous tip for the staff.