Yuba-Sutter GI is back for breather
Jeremy Reynolds admits he didn't have much going for him before joining the Army in 2005.
“I was just sitting around and had nothing else to do,” Reynolds, 21, recalled at his mother's Yuba City home on Saturday. “I needed a life change.”
Reynolds' mother and stepfather, Robin and John Humphreys, had dozens of family members over to celebrate the return of Reynolds and to allow family to say good-bye to him before the 2003 Sutter High School graduate leaves again for Baghdad in two weeks.
Enlisting changed his life for sure, he said.
Pfc. Reynolds was serving as a combat engineer with the 1st Cavalry, 110th Sapper Company, 20th Engineering Brigade, in Iraq's capital when the Humvee he and other soldiers were riding in was struck by an improvised explosion device, also known as a roadside bomb.
Nobody was killed, but Reynolds received a concussion. He was shaken and he was kept under observation for about a week, and returned home this weekend on a two-week leave. He will return to serve eight more months in Baghdad.
“It's rough over there,” he said. “It's scary when you step back and think about it; but when you're there, you can't do that. You have to just stay focused and use the adrenaline.”
Mother Robin said she was definitely scared when she heard in a roundabout way that her son had been wounded.
“I didn't know until afterward, that only if he was really hurt, they would let us know directly,” she explained. “Everybody asks about him daily and prays for him; and we have lots of family, so it was easier to have this get-together before he leaves again.”
Great-aunts and uncles, grandparents and step-grandparents alike took turns greeting and hugging Reynolds, telling him how good he looked and how proud of him they were. His father, Roger Reynolds, could not be there Saturday.
“I'm so proud. I'm scared, of course, for him, especially when he told me he got injured,” said Erlene Barnett, Reynolds' great-aunt from Olivehurst.
Reynolds' sister, 17-year-old Cydnie, said that while she doesn't particularly like the fact that her brother is deployed overseas, she has seen a huge change in him.
“When we were little, I'd have to order his ice cream for him, because he was so shy,” she said with a laugh. “I think it's good that he's doing something like this. He's grown up a lot.”
Relatives mingled in and out of the house, snacking and chatting about Reynolds' plight. Reynolds told his story several times over throughout the afternoon.
He said that however miserable it might be in Baghdad, he was ready to return.
“I'm not scared. It's tough sometimes, but it's OK,” he said shyly. “My battle buddies are there and I need to get back to help them out.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Kymm Mann can be reached at 749-4707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.