Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Marine LCpl Justin Allen Reynolds.
Marine LCpl Justin Allen Reynolds
36, of Lima, Ohio; assigned to the 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division; wounded in Anbar province, Iraq 2006 and died of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device September 14, 2019.
Remembrance Day 2019: ‘For Those That Leave Never to Return, For Those That Return But Are Never The Same.’ -We Remember-
The War at Home – Parents of OH Marine beg folks to remember injured
As the U.S. continues fighting wars on two fronts, many folks do not always think about the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But an Ohio couple, whose son was injured in Iraq, wants to make sure people remember.
By Jerry Anderson
(WTOL) – As the U.S. continues fighting wars on two fronts, many folks do not always think about the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But an Ohio couple, whose son was injured in Iraq, wants to make sure folks remember.
From the time Justin Reynolds was a young boy, he knew what he wanted to do when he grew up – and his family knew he would wear a military uniform someday.
In fact, he loved playing with GI Joes and reading books about war. Ann Reynolds, Justin’s mother, remembers when a librarian said her son’s school would need more military books because Justin had read them all.
Reynolds’ grew into a big young man. In fact, after deciding to join the Marines he was told he had to lose 100 pounds before they would accept him – and he did. “I was proud, very proud,” said Ann Reynolds. “I’ve always been proud of him, but that was a proud moment for his father and I.”
When Reynolds was shipped to fight in Anbar province, Iraq, in late 2004, the fighting was intense. When a second tour followed, Marine Lance Corporal Reynolds was driving a Humvee when it was hit by an improvised explosive device or IED.
Ann Reynolds says when her son called, he told her he had been in a car accident. “I said ‘a car accident?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I hit an IED.’ And I said, ‘that’s a car accident alright.'” Reynolds also told her mother he was sure his leg was destroyed. However, his leg was still intact, but he did have a broken ankle, dislocated toe and knee ripped open by shrapnel.
While Reynolds was recuperating in North Carolina, doctors told his family a virus had attacked his brain. After a harsh course of antibiotics and steroids, the virus finally disappeared. However, after a year and a-half, Reynolds relapsed and the virus waged war on the young Marine’s brain.
Ann Reynolds said her son’s doctors called and said the virus had come back — her son was dying. Instead, the virus robbed Reynolds of his speech and motor skills. Now he responds with a smile and laugh. And, for example, the blink of an eye means yes.
His parents – and others know that he hears and feels. Reynolds’ mother says the last words she heard him speak were to apologize. “‘I’m sorry Mom, I’m so sorry.’ And I said ‘Justin, you don’t have to be sorry for anything.'”
U.S. Marine Justin Reynolds fought bravely for his country, earning the Purple Heart.
Doctors are still uncertain about where the mystery virus came from, even after MRIs, spinal taps and cat scans. But, Ann and Robert Reynolds believe the virus came from chemicals in the improvised explosive device. It took a while, but Reynolds’ parents finally learned how to navigate their way through the V. A. or Veterans Administration. However, that was only after Reynolds paid for a year of his own acute care in a nursing home. Now, Reynolds says she thinks the government officials understand she and her husband do not give up.
However, Reynolds admits on some days she feels like she cannot go on, but says when she thinks of her son, the Marine – that keeps her going. After all, she says, he never gives up and neither will she. In the past year and a-half, Robert Reynolds has had three heart attacks and battled lung cancer. “Sometimes you sit and think about yourself and then you think about Justin,” said Robert Reynolds. “…what I have is nothing. Justin inspires me to live.”
The Reynolds’ wanted their son’s story told because they never want folks to forget about those who serve their country. “You just don’t realize what these men and women do, how much they go through, how much they do sacrifice,” said Ann Reynolds.
The Marines motto, “Semper Fi,” meaning always faithful, was — and certainly is true of Marine Lance Corporal Retired Justin Reynolds.
Landstuhl Hospital Care Project
Founder & President
The Ring: June 1, 2015
Last month, I attended the Norwich American Legion Riders Post 189 10th Annual LHCP Benefit Ride. While I was there, I was presented with a Danbury Mint Marine Corp ring and was asked to present it to anyone I wanted to. I decided I would present it to Lance Corporal Justin Reynolds.
I first met Justin in Feb 2006 when he was 23 years old and he had arrived at LRMC. I remember first meeting him while he was in his hospital bed. He asked me if I would take a picture of him talking on the phone with his mom. I told him that I would and I emailed her the picture.
Ann Reynolds later told me that Justin had told her he had been in a car accident. She questioned him; “Car accident?” He said, “Yes” he was hit by IED. I am sure as she told the story I must have had a strange look on my face because I knew Justin had been hit by an IED. He has a sense of humor for sure.
His leg was intact but he had a broken ankle and the knee was torn open by shrapnel. The next day, he and 3 other Marines, 2 in wheel chairs and 2 pushing IV poles, were coming down the hospital hallway. One young Marine in a chair had no use of one arm and was being helped by one pushing the IV pole. The other IV pusher only had the use of one hand and had to use it to push his own IV pole. I asked them where they were going and one of them said outside for a cigarette break. I asked where their jackets where and they told me in their ‘Marine voice’ they did not need jackets– they were Marines. I told them that it was February in Germany and cold. I used my “mom voice” and told them I out-ranked all of them because I was a MOM and they did need jackets and they had to follow me to the Chaplain’s Closet.
The very next day I am walking up the hall and they were walking down for their daily cigarette break. They saw me about the same time I saw them and I have to laugh each time I think about it because the two pushing IV poles were trying to help the two in wheel chairs get turned around to go back up the hall before I could get to them. They had IV lines tangled together and in the chairs. I just gave them the MOM look and told them I would get their jackets.
Later, Justin returned to NC and within a week, Ann had sent me an email saying Justin had a stroke. I had to read the email several times, it just could not be the same Justin. Later, doctors found out that Justin had a virus attacking his brain.
As time passed with his PT; he started to walk with a walker, and then one day, I received a call that started with “Mom 2, guess what?” Since Justin was the only one that called me “Mom 2” it was a given it was Justin. I asked “What?” he said he drove a car that day. I asked him if he was supposed to be driving a car and he told me, “Don’t worry it was a big empty parking lot”.
He was always calling when he hit another milestone in his recovery, such as the day he walked without his walker and the neighbor had to help get him off the ground. He was as proud as a peacock even though he had fallen. Later, the virus had come back and Ann was told her son was dying. She called me and asked for me to get to his side since he was at the Richmond VA hospital and they had to fly from Ohio. I ran out the door with one shoe on and one shoe in my hand. When I arrived at the hospital I was still hopping trying to get my shoe on as I was running into the hospital. It was a very difficult battle, but Justin made it through. However he was robbed of his speech and motor skills. He communicates by blinking his eyes.
Those of us that know Justin know he is very much in there. He laughs, he jokes, he cried when his dad died. I sent his mom the Danbury Mint Marine Corp ring. She called me this Friday while the house was full of LHCP Arlington Wreath Participates and told me that she had put the ring on Justin while he was sleeping. He woke up and saw the ring and she said that he stretch his arm out. I started to tear up because Justin has very little control over his body. He was stretching it out to show people his “bling”. Ann told him that if she had known he would stretch out his arm she would have bought him some “bling” a LONG time ago.
I want to thank the Norwich American Legion Riders for allowing me to present the ring to Lance Corporal Justin Reynolds. I want them to know as much as it means to his mom and I, it means more to a young Marine who has spent the last 9 years battling his injuries he received protecting our freedom. He has his own “bling” and he is very proud to stretch out his arm and show it to all that wish to look at it.