crookedfences014024.gif
crookedfences014021.gif
crookedfences014022.gif
crookedfences014023.gif
crookedfences014022.gif
crookedfences014021.gif
CONTACTS
VIDEOS
PHOTOS
JOHN A. REINERS
STAFF SERGEANT US ARMY
crookedfences014020.gif
crookedfences014019.gif
crookedfences014018.gif
crookedfences014017.gif
HOME
NAMES
LINKS
flag%20usa.gif
flag%20usa.gif
On his second tour in Iraq, Staff Sergeant John Reniers tried to turn down the Purple Heart. It would be his second, but in his mind, he wasn't wounded enough to warrant the recognition. After a rocket-propelled grenade cause shrapnel wounds to his head and leg, Reniers tried to hide the injuries so he wouldn't miss work the next day.

"That's John, " said his mother Ronna Jackson, "so humble and always giving 110 percent."

But Reniers couldn't turn down his second Purple Heart. While Reniers was on a five person foot parrol in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan, a suicide bomber drove into the team and detonated a bomb, killing Reniers and two fellow soldiers. It happened two months before Reniers was scheduled to return home from his third tour of duty.

The 24-year-old Army Ranger from Lake Hamilton, Florida didn't think Ranger School was hard enough. "He'd smile and say, "is that all you got?" said Jerry Jackson, Reiners' stepfather since he was six months old. His toughness earned him the nickname "Rambo" among his fellow soldiers.

After participating in Junior ROTC at Haines City High School for four years, he graduated and joined the Army in July 2004 and later Army Rangers, choosing to join what is cconsidered the most elite special operations force in the Army.

"He was always a soldier. It was his passion." Ronna Jackson said. At age four, he was already dressed in camouflage, but as a soldier, his humility was apparent. He refused to wear his uniform at airports or in public. "He didn't want to be treated dufferently or like a hero. He didn't have a ego. He just loved the Army from day one." Ronna Jackson said.

As serious as Reiners was about the Army, friends and family knew him as a comic, with a love of practical jokes. "He just always wanted to have fun, "Ronna Jackson said. "He made sure everyone had a good time."

He was also a dedicated husband and father, leaving behind his wife of three years, Casey Barker Reniers, and a two-year-old son, Lex Allen. Well-loved among the men of his unit, some even took out loans to travel across the world and attend his funeral at Northridge Church in Haines City.

For Ronna Jackson, her son's legacy is clear. "The hardest thing for any mother is rasing an American hero. None of us should take our freedom for granted/"

But Reiners wouldn't care about his legacy, said Jackson. "He just wouldn't want us to forget the other troops. He'd want us to remember them."

By Katherine Boyle
crookedfences014016.jpg
crookedfences014015.jpg
crookedfences014014.jpg
crookedfences014013.gif
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
crookedfences014012.gif
crookedfences014011.gif
FREEDOM ISN'T FREE
crookedfences014010.gif
crookedfences014009.gif
crookedfences014008.gif
The hardest thing for any mother is
raising an American hero. None of us
should take our freedom for granted.

Ronna Jackson
crookedfences014007.jpg
crookedfences014006.jpg
crookedfences014005.jpg
John with his wife Casey and son Lex
crookedfences014004.jpg
crookedfences014003.gif
crookedfences014002.jpg
crookedfences014002.jpg
crookedfences014001.gif