The War at Home

The War at Home – Parents of OH Marine beg folks to remember injured

By Jerry Anderson WTOL 11


Justin A. Reynolds
Justin A. Reynolds

(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.

Justin A. Reynolds
Justin A. Reynolds

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.

To send Justin Reynolds a card or a note:

Justin Reynolds
c/o The Ridge at Shawnee
2535 Ft. Amanda Rd.
Lima, OH 45804


For more on Justin read A Winning Hand for Soldiers.


2 thoughts on “The War at Home”

  1. I first read about Justin in Nov/Dec 2012 SaturedayEveningPost as part of article on the organization created by Karen Grimord, and kept the magazine these years to remind me of need of those who r-e-a-l-l-y gets the help from our $’ of charity and then website of organization said donations of goods could also be used, I shared w/my sis-in-law in Ft. Lauderdale who crochets like her mother did & donating to churches the handmade items, she also had a son in military, so I knew she would help. But this year, as every year, I re-read the Nov/Dec 2012 article and wondered how Justin has continued in his struggle to just survive after serving us and our country, so back to website, keyed in his name and was given his update, AND, his address to contact direct to him and his family!…I’m so pleased with how you are handling this “charity” (which is n-o-t a charity, but a real kindness showing humanity how we should live) in the long term. I’m from Ohio so I’m pleased to be able to contact Justin and his family there. I know Karen’s been such
    a help to those in need, and I pray for her continuance and stamina. I will share Justins’ story w/my nephew too, who served in the heat of the islands developing foot disease of the foot soldier, but had throat cancer in 2003, now going thru an unusual pneumonia that is now going to be 1/2 year of steroid treatments and 1/2 yr. weaning off steroids! Maybe seeing a fellow soldier who has been thru life’s changes will give him courage too! His dad served 3 tours of duty in 2 branches of service, died of cancer last year, so my nephew will be able to recognize this persons tough fight. My grandson is a 2007 graduate of AFA of Colorado Springs and presently stationed in Japan. Please keep us, the public informed – you are appreciated. Thank you, Leta

    1. Justin is doing well Thank you. He can now pinch you with his left hand using his pointer finger and thumb. That is big for him. Justin inspires me everyday he is always happy and loves making people laugh and never feels sorry for himself. For a man who did 3 tours of duty and has spent almost 9 years in a Nursing Home he stills gives the gift of Joy. Thank you for asking about him and Merry Christmas — Ann & Robert Reynolds.

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