LIMA, Ohio - Justin Reynolds.
If you don’t know him, know this: he is a hero.
Ever since he was a little boy, Reynolds, a Shawnee High School graduate, knew that he wanted to be a soldier and fight for our country. Today, Marine Lance Corporal Reynolds is a living symbol of the sacrifices made by troops during the heat of war.
Reynolds’ story began in the deserts of Iraq, where he was serving his second tour. While driving a Humvee during a mission, he struck an IED (explosive device) and suffered multiple injuries, including a broken ankle, dislocated toe and an injured knee that had been torn open by flying shrapnel.
Reynolds survived and was taken to North Carolina to recuperate. While there, a virus attacked his brain. It was treated quickly with antibiotics and steroids. The virus disappeared and life resumed for the family.
However, just 18 months later, the virus reappeared and the young Marine found himself in a life-altering situation. The mysterious virus robbed Reynolds of his motor skills and speech. He now communicates with friends and family by blinking his eyes. His room at a Lima long-term care facility is adorned with signed photos and well wishes from numerous celebrities.
Life is different now for the Reynolds family. It is filled with numerous trips to see doctors and specialists. The transportation costs, as well as costs associated with Ryan’s care, have skyrocketed.
The story is one that is all too familiar for families around the nation who are caring for injured soldiers. Reynolds’ mom Ann has made it her mission to inform the public about these brave soldiers and bring attention to their struggles. On the days when she feels overwhelmed, she says she simply thinks of her son and the journey he has traveled and it pulls her through.
“He keeps me going,” she said. “He’s the reason I fight so hard.”
Moved by the young Marine’s sacrifice, the UAW 1219 and Ford Motor Company raised approximately $3,500 to help offset the family’s medical expenses. UAW representatives recently visited Reynolds to thank him for his great sacrifice.
“We just wanted to thank you for your service to our country and offer our full support,” UAW representative Scott Rex told Reynolds.
Anyone wishing to send a card or donate to Reynolds’ cause can reach out to:
c/o The Ridge at Shawnee
2535 Ft. Amanda Rd.
Lima, OH 45804