Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Staff Sgt. Gavin B. Reinke

32, of Pueblo, Colorado.
Reinke died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his RG-31 Mine Protected Vehicle during combat operations. He was assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Died on May 4, 2006.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Staff Sgt. Gavin B. Reinke.

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"Gavin I didnt know you but i wish i did god bless you in heavean"
Jaren todisco Jason's son of Pueblo Colorado

"I can't believe it has been almost 8 years Gavin. You are truly missed by many and although we can not see you I know you are here with us all everyday. Love you and miss you my friend."
Tammie B of Waynesville MO

"You are not forgotten."
1SG Brinkley of JBLM, Washington

"To the family of:Gavin B. Reinke
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga""

"I'm sitting outside tonight thinking about you baby. I haven't been on here in a while but that doesn't mean that a day goes by without my thinking of you and missing you so bad my heart aches. It seems like just yesterday we were snapping the family photos on the website and now baby girl is almost 10. Whoever said it would get easier lied. You just learn how to put the pain in a certain part of you and only open the door every now and then. There are days I pretend that I'm ok but you were my love. I never had to worry with you. I knew my heart was safe. I miss you so bad Gavin. Pretty soon I'll be going back there and taking Kay for a visit. I know it will be good but I also know it will rip my heart at the same time knowing you will never walk in the door. You will forever be my Gav, my hunter, my love. I know you are in Heaven watching me, I hear my bluejay constatnly these days and I know it is you telling me to be strong and I am baby. I am and always will be your veteran. I will love you forever."
Carole

"This weekend is all about you and all the others like you who have given the ultimate sacrifice. We love you and miss you every day. We will never forget you baby. Happy Memorial Day...."
Carole

"Remembering you- memorial weekend 2011. rest in peace. not forgotten."
sheila

"Reading the news reports and something made me think of you and your sacrifice. we will never forget."
Brad Schneier of Tacoma, WA

"How fast five years seems to have gone by and I feel like it was just yesterday you were by our side. We love you and miss you every day. Continue to watch us and protect us as only our "angel" can. We love you."
Carole

"As everyday, you are in our thoughts & prayers. Thinking about your family, especially today..."
Cindy of Waynesville, MO

"Memorial Day Weekend 2010. Remembering all those who gave their lives especially you and your Soldiers. Thank you and we will never forget"
SGM Bradley Schneier of FT Lewis, WA

"Well, it's another Memorial Day weekend, as most people are out at the lake or BBQ-ing, some of us are taking a little time out to remember the real reason for this day. Thinking of you and your girls on this special holiday. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice. Thinking of and missing you guys all the time. You were always one of my greatest and true hero. Thank you!"
The Bowlin's of Fort Smith, AR

"Although it is the day after you were taken from this world years ago, you are still missed. We will never forget the true hero, husband, father, friend and professional that you were to so many. Many of us will never forget you or your family that is still an important part of so many lives. We will never forget!"
SGM Bradley Schneier of Ft. Lewis, Washington

"Thinking of you today, as is everyone who ever knew you! Amazing how many people counted you as their best friend & you counted Carole as yours. I know you are proud of Carole & how she is raising Kayleigh. Kayleigh is awesome, smart & beautiful. They've had a really good year and are happy but still miss you so much. You will always be missed by so many."
Cindy C of Waynesville, MO

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEjz-wAQLSA&feature=PlayList&p=477CB1585D5551F3
A hundred times a day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am receiving. - Albert Einstein"
Scott E. Steiner of Worthington, OH USA

"Today is Christmas Eve in Iraq. I wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you, your family and later today I will be placing a holiday wreath on your memorial on Camp Liberty. Your family is always in my thoughts and prayers. I will not forget!"
SGM Bradley Schneier of VBC, IRAQ

"Veterans Day 2009. Baghdad, Iraq. So many things have been said about you and all of our fallen comrades that it would foolish of me to try to compare my words with so many others. I am deeply honored to have served with you, to have met you, and continue to celebrate your life. A life cut short way before your time. Our legacy, your legacy is alive and well inside each and every person who knew you or even met you, but your greatest legacy is alive and well with Carole and Kayleigh. Im sure they make you smile and proud everyday even on what seems their darkest of days. Even in the darkest of days you bring the light to them in many special and unique ways. Your life and ultimate sacrifice has touched so many lives, far beyond imaginable. Take comfort that you are not forgotten, not just at the holidays, but forever! I will never forget!"
SGM Bradley Schneier of Baghdad, Iraq

"So yet another holiday passed, now everyone is back at school including K, and we can't help but think of you along the way. You'd be so proud of your girls. They are doing great and your baby girl is getting so big. Saw a picture the other night of your little girl with nice painted nails....but also in a transformers t-shirt. A little bit of mom...a lot of daddy. God Bless you Gavin and everything you gave us all!"
The Brinkmans of Michigan

"Thinkin of ya on labor day bro"
Jason Elwood of wakefield, ks

"We are thinking of you and your family today and always. You are missed so very much."
Cindy C. of Waynesville, MO

"MAY 23, 2009
SSG Gavin Reinke, thinking of you and your family on this Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for all your sacrifices. I will never forget!"
SGM Bradley Schneier of Seattle, Washington

"Remembering Gavin and keeping his family in my thoughts and prayers. I will never forget.
05/04/09"
sl of nj

"Hard to believe its been 3 years! Somethings change but our memories of you are still as fresh as yesterday. We will never forget the life and sacrifice that you made that day. You are a hero to many and will never be far from our thoughts and prayers. Your family is a special part of my life and I promise to never forget. SSG Gavin Reinke will be forever remembered in our hearts and minds. A true hero!"
SGM Bradley Schneier of El Paso, Texas

"April 28, 2009
To the family of Staff Sgt. Gavin B. Reinke:
Gavin gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"So we went to the Trace Adkins concert last night and of course it was four songs into the set when he played Arlington. All it took was the first chords to play for the tears to start to fall. I had warned Lindsay but not all the people around us...LOL...who were staring and wondering why I was sobbing. They quickly figured it out and offered touches of thanks on the shoulder. It was an amazing experience. I remember all those years ago sitting in the truck at the light at the Ramada when we heard that song for the first time and we looked at each other and started talking the what if's that we never thought would happen. And we argued oh how we argued over that song and your plans of what you wanted. You were a stubborn SOB when you wanted to be but how I loved you and still do. I've heard that song countless times since you died but hearing it in person last night was so moving. It was like things had come full circle. I know you were there...I felt you with me. And I just wanted you to knwo how much I love you and how proud of you I am and always will be my baby. I love you my hero."
Carole

""Prayer Shawls 4 Fallen Soldiers is an organization of over 235 knitting groups throughout our country. Since October of 2007 this group of knitters has sent over 2,900 prayer shawls to the families of fallen soldiers. If you would like a hand knit prayer shawl in memory of Gavin, please contact me at barbconway@comcast.net or 774 487-8618.
Sincerely, Barbara"
Barbara Conway of Cape Cod MA

"Oh my baby...its been so long since I have sat here and written you. I love you still more than words can say. I see flashes of you all the time. Kayleigh was standing with Pyper the otehr day and had on jeans and her boots and a long sleeve shirt just like you used to wear with that one hip cocked like she does just like you used to do and there was no question that she was all Daddy that day. She is such a blessing and gift to me. She is this piece of you that I can look at and hold. It was Dads with Donuts at school today. That was an iffy one but she was amazing. She is always amazing. We made the most wonderful creature there. And when the mom stopped me today, I know you heard, I was so proud of her and I know you were too. There are so many things Gavin that have changed. My life is nothing like I planned that it would be, nothing at all. But we are doing it. I am keeping the promise that I made you so long ago. That even though I didn't know how I was going to do it I was going to keep going for me and for K. I was going to do it for you. I love you so much and miss you so much it aches deep inside. I don't feel you with me as often as I did. I know you know I can do it better on my own now but I still need you. I always will. I love you forever and always."
Carole

"Gavin,
Thank you for watching over me and taking care of on that deadly night 2 years ago. I thank you and think of you everyday for keeping me alive. There is no way I could have made it through that night by myself. Thanks for haveing my back and pulling me through the hard times. People are amazed when they talk to me and say that i have a good attitude and out look on life. I just look at them and say well all i think about is my brother Gavin and that it could be alot worst than it is.
You were more than just a fellow soldier, a co- worker, a neighbor and a best friend to me. You were a brother to me. With my first real hunting season back in MO since we left for Iraq in Nov of 2005. I know that it is not going to be easy for me and it will be hard without you. I can remember the day, 19 September 2005. It was my first deer i had ever killed with a bow and our last deer together. I know that when ever I go hunting out to our secret spot you will be with me. I miss you brother and love you. Continue to watch over me and my family. You are my angel!"
Dan of Waynesville, MO

"Always thinking of you and Kayleigh. You are an amazing woman and mother. I have always admired your strength! God Bless!"
Melissa Booth of Fort Irwin, California

"Carole, Your love for Gavin and your strength is truly admirable. I want you to know that we think of you and pray for you and Kayleigh. Even though time doesn't stand still we still remember. Your little Kayleigh is so beautiful. Wow, She is so grown up now. I am sure Gavin is so proud of you both! When I come to this Memorial I am always moved to tears. It is painful to read the words you leave here but it is good to know that there are people like you in this world! Our deepest sympathy always. Our thoughts and prayers on this Memorial Day and always. Love, Ami and Matt"
Ami Novak of Mattoon, Illinois

"Happy Memorial Day Baby! We think about you every day and today in particular. You taught us what it means to be selfless and a hero. We miss you more than words can say and we love you forever and ever and always."
Carole of Waynesville

"Two years baby...how is it possible that life has just gone on and you haven't been here with us? I know you are still here in spirit, I feel it every day and I see it lots of times. Like yesterday...I know you were there with me cause I saw the sign. Its not officially two years for me till later this morning. I still remember coming up the stairs and seeing them there. That is a sight I will never forget as long as I live. But you know what baby, Kayleigh and I are surviving. No..we are living and we are making you proud and working hard at starting a new life. There are changes and it is scary but we are facing them head on. I finally realized that even though you were gone, I was strong too. You were my strength for so long that it took me a long time to realize I could do things and make choices on my own no matter what anyone else thought and that Kay and I would be ok. SO we do...we make choice together her and me. We are your team and I know you would be proud. We missyou so friggin much Gavin so don't ever go far away from us. Stay close and help us through our lives. I love you baby. I always have and I always will. You were the most amazing husband and father anyone could ever ask for. I lucked out when I found you. I love you baby and will talk to you later today when your visitors get there. Always and forever Gavin."
Carole of Waynesville

"What a couple of weeks baby...I know you have been with us all the way through it and will keep being with us forever...Me and K have made some big choices together and are a good team...we are ready for that next chapter in our life and gonna take that big step...we love you so much and know you are with us everywhere we go no matter where it may be...I think about you every day and dream about you every night Gavin...remember the Easter eggs?? How about bowling K down the hallway at Mack and Barbaras...I was thinking about that last weekend...There are new babies there now...a little girl and a little boy...it reminded me of watching you hold Kayleigh the first time in the hospital after she was born...you were so good with her...she was so tiny in your arms...and I used to watch you fall asleep on the couch with her on your chest...you two were so cute...I miss my days with you but I cherish every memory I have with you...from that first moment on the dance floor...I will love you always and forever"
Carole of Waynesville

"I want to say sorry for the the heart ache and also for not writing sooner. i served with this fine ssg in iraq and your lose is devestating. i dont know that pain but i know i was there when it happened and saw it all i live nightmare day in and day out and its been almost 2yrs or more. stay stong and my heart is with u"
SPC RORY RADTKE of Milwaukee WI

"I miss you baby. Things were so simple when you were here. My heart hurts today. I love you Gavin"
Carole of Waynesville

"Gavin,
I went to our hunting spot over the weekend since it was the last weekend to bow hunt. I had to do it, it was tearing me up inside. It was very hard but i had a friend there with me who knew what I have been through since you left. He let me have my privacy and it was real good. I am glad that i did it and I know that there is a place where i can go to sit and remember our good times together and to talk to you. I miss you so much. It has been hard since I have been back home. I knew that it was going to be rough. Thanks for always being there for me and being my friend! You are a true friend and I will never have another one like you. Don't worry noone could or will ever replace you. Miss you and love you Brohter"
Daniel of Waynesville, Mo

"Happy Birthday Gavin. Thinking of you and your family tonight. I can only imagine how much they all miss you during this difficult time each year!"
Brittany Brooks of Louisville, KY

"Happy Birthday my baby...we miss you so much everyday and today even more...we are having cake for you tonight...the dora one we always talked about...there will be lots of people at the house tonight to celebrate your life and your memory...we all love you and miss you so much and you will forever be a part of us...I love you always and forever"
Carole of Waynesville

"Happy Birthday, Gavin....we miss you so much!"
Bowlin's of Fort Smith, AR

"Gavin,
I watched Kayleigh sing at her school last night and it was hard but I knew that you were watching too. She is so beautiful and amazing. Carole is taking care of her and you would be very proud of them both. It has been hard living here again knowing that you are not around. I look out into the woods and think of the times we shared together. I have been here for over a month and it is hard to get myself motivated to go hunting. I just got my hunting lic the other day. I know that it will not be the same without you. I will have a friend go with me but he will never replace you! Noone will ever replace you. It is good to be able to see your girls everyday and see how they are doing. Carole knows that we are there for her anytime. Continue to watch over me brother! I love and miss you and I feel your pressance in my life daily!"
Dan of Waynesville

"miss you Gav"
Brian of FLW

"Dear SSG Reinke,
I met your beautiful wife Carole recently. She's a true inspiration to every military wife. Her love for you is evident in her eyes as well as her heart. You would be proud to see her lovingly raise Kayleigh, and continue to demonstrate courage and strength, reminding us always to remember those heroes like you who have fallen. My heart broke as I learned from her of your passing, but she was more concerned that she had upset me. She's a true testiment to what is good in humanity. I'm honored to know her. She, Kayleigh and you entered my prayers yesterday and I'll always have a prayer for your family from this day forward. Rest in peace."
Amy Migliara of Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

"To the family of:Gavin B Reinke I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"Gavin I miss you so much. I am trying to look after Carole and Kayleigh as much as Carole will let me. I wish she communicated with us more. We love Carole and Kayleigh so very much. I want the very best for them. I hope and pray they will be healthy and happy."
Nana

"Robert reminisced about you and Dan the other day. He went fishing, "the way you, Dan, and he used to fish." You should have seen the look on his face when he was finished. He said, "I really needed to fish like that again, it felt so good." I think, in a way, he felt you were with him. He caught like 15 small mouth bass, yep, he was proud. He misses you guys so much. He's not a really verbal person, so when says something like that, I know you guys were on his mind. He talks about you often, how ya'll all used to go fishing, and he just talks about "how good of a guy you were." He is so proud to have been one of your really good friends, memories he'll have to cherish forever. When we were in Missouri last, he and Jason went fishing on the Roubideaux, he caught "the biggest trout ever"! He was so excited, he wanted to let everyone know, yeah, we have it on camera, so believe me, EVERYONE knew. Those are just the little things that he does to remind himself of you and Dan. You and Dan are definately two of his really good "buddies", and he thinks of you often. I know he misses you two, but like I said, he's not the talkative kind of guy. But know that ya'll are always on his mind.
We miss you and think of you often."
Samy of Fort Smith, AR

"I would say happy anniversay but it isn't happy without you here with me Gavin. I'm sitting today and I am remembering 7 years ago at this time. All the preparations and the nerves and they were all coming to an end in just a few hours. In a few hours we would be husband and wife. It was the happiest day of my life Gavin. You made my life complete in a way that until you I hadn't realized it was incomplete. So many people go through life and never get the chance to have and share a love like what we had. I am forever grateful that I had the chance to love you and be loved by you. I was the luckiest woman in the world because you were the most amazing man in the world. I never imagined when we were standing in that church taking our vows that our life together would be cut so short so soon. I miss you every day baby and I will for the rest of my life. You were and are my true love."
Carole

"Hi baby...well here we are on another "holiday" and it just seems empty without you...we are actually gonna fire up the grill this afternoon and I have to tell you I cried in walmart when I bought charcoal...people were staring at me(not like that is an abnormal thing) but I couldn't stop the tears...you were the grill king...it seems so strange to celebrate without you here with us...today is for Kayleigh though...she is so excited...she started talking about fireworks at the old house...remember baby...we went camping and bought them on the way back...she remembers...she remembers you shooting them and she wants you back so bad...i do to but she is starting to process a lot and miss you so bad...i hurt for missing you and i hurt for our baby girl...i can't make it any better but i am trying...the one thing she wants more than anything in the world is to have you back and i can't give that to her and it kills me on a daily basis...we have good friends that are trying their best to fill in the gaps in her life where they can and they are doing a great job...she wouldn't be doing as well as she is without them but god baby how we miss you...so i'm sitting talking to you with emotions off the chart...i love you so much and miss you so much...know that the grill will be going and there will be a beer sitting unopened for you even though you can't be here with us this year...i love you forever and always"
Carole

"Gavin, remembering you this Fourth of July! Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Carole, not a day goes by that I do not think about you!"
Melissa Booth of Ft. Irwin, CA

"Gavin--
I love you so much baby...I feel so alone without you...My heart keeps cracking and breaking more and more with every day and everything that happens...I want you back so much baby...I love you always and forever..."
Carole

"Gavin--
Tommorow will be a hard day. Another funeral of another loved one. Please give me strength. I already feel the memories of funeral homes and services filling my head and heart again...not that they are ever far away. Give me strength baby. I miss you and love you so much and always will."
Carole

"Hey baby...well here it is our second memorial day without you. I don't really remember the last one cause I was still in a fog of pain from losing you. This year the fog has lifted some and it feels so empty without you. The day has so much more meaning now since you left us. Instead of just beers and grilling steaks it is really a day of remembering heroes which is what you are now. Well you were always my hero from the moment I met you and now you are a hero to so many. You gave the ultimate for all of us and I promise you as long as I love you will never be forgotten baby. I'm watching the grill go today and it is bittersweet. You were such the "grill man" you could make anything good on the grill. A cookout will never be the same without you just like nothing in life will ever be the same without you here with us where you belong. I love you baby today and every day."
Carole

"Hi baby...just sitting here thinking about you and wanted to say hi...heard that diamond rio song on the radio today and made me think of you..."our love can even reach across eternity" it touched me in ways I can't tell you...we are forever together and that will never change...I love you baby and I always will from now until eternity and beyond."
Carole

"Miss you so much, Gavin. Thinking of you today and always. I can't believe it's already been one year."
Chrissy of Houston

"Your husband will not be forgotten for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our freedom. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter."
Wanda Bennett of Bradenton, FL

"Dear Carole,
I was in the same company as Gavin in the 5th during OIF 1, didn't know Gavin on a more personal level. During OIF 1, I would go and visit his Platoon Sergeant in their area, and SSG Rienke was always professional, polite, respectful, and a really good sence of humor. Always upbeat, always offered something cold to drink from their cooler if they had it. He was the guy that any Platoon Sergeant would love to have in their platoon. What I knew of him, he was one of the best. Very respected by all who knew him. Just wanted to take the time to send you a quick note.
Very Respectfully,"
SFC Mark Kalapp of Ft Jackson SC

"Galvin,
I did not ever get to meet you, but my son Daniel thought the world of you. I know in my heart that he would not be alive today if it was not for your watchful eye that faithful day in September. Thank you. You should be very proud of your wife, she was a huge inspiration to me during Daniel's first few days in the hospital and I will never forget. I am saddened that I never got to know you. I hope you are at peace and continue to watch over us all down here. God bless."
Georgia Tucci of Little Falls,ny

"Carole,
I love and miss Gavin as much today as I did one year ago. He is in my thoughts and prayers daily. You and Kayleigh are always in my thoughts and prayers, also. I know how strong you are being for Kayleigh and you know that I am always here for both of you. All you have to do is ask for anything. We had memorial masses said for Gavin at Aquinas College and Christ the King Church. Hope this will help you a little. My psychologist suggested that I do something special for me in memory of Gavin and continue doing this over the years to come. I remember how much he used to like to drive my Lincoln and how he would wash it every time he came to town. I am going to get the Lincoln washed every May 4th to remember Gavin. I know he would be proud of me. The car is really dirty and covered with pollen. Tonight is the Dominican Campus Dinner and they are going to remember Gavin in their prayers. God bless you and Kayleigh both.
Love,
Nana"
Kayleigh's Nana of Nashville, TN

"To Carole, remember today that Gavin needs u to be strong for Kaleigh and for yourself!!! celebrate her life and his!! Especially his!! From this day forward, remember the best times yall had together!! I pray for you and Kaleigh! Love u and take care!!"
Sarah Jean of San Antonio, Texas

"Carole - My prayers and thoughts are with you and Kayleigh today as always."
Alice of Ft. Richardson, AK

"I don't know where to start baby. I can't believe that it has been a year. I am writing this the day before your anniversary because I don't know if I can bring myself to do it tommorow. This time last year my life was still normal. You were 6000 miles away but you were alive. It wasn't until 11am tommorow that my life blew apart. I still remember everything from that day and will probably never forget. I loved you from the moment I saw you and that never wavered or faltered. I just grew to love you more and more. You were so good to me and taught me so much about myself. You were my lifeline and since you have been gone I have drifted a little. Visiting you in DC a few weeks back really helped to set some things straight. I feel you inside me and with me. I feel your strength when I think I can't go on. And I see the people you have put in my life to help me move on. I don't understand God's plan or his reasons for taking you away from me and Kayleigh but I am trying my hardest to live every day to the fullest and show Kayleigh how much you loved her. I know that is what you would want me to do. I'm not perfect at it baby--but you never expected perfection from me. I can't believe that you died a year ago and on top of that it has been 18 months since I got to feel your face or your arms around me or kiss you and I know I never will get any of those things again. It breaks my heart over and over again. I love you so much Gavin and I always will. You will always be the love of my life no matter what else may change like my address or my hair color--your place in my life will always remain constant. You were the best baby and I cherish our 8 years together. I love you so much. I will see you in my dreams."
Carole

"Carole's visit with you helped her so much! It cleared up a lot of things going on in her head, getting to talk to you. You sent so many signs to her during that trip! I felt like she finally did some healing. Carole will never get over this though. You are the love of her life & no one ever gets over that. But that is a blessing, many people never met a great love of their lives! Kayleigh looks so much like you, especially at times when she will give that look! We all laugh! Tomorrow will be hard on everyone, Carole & Kayleigh, your families, your friends & your Army family. Carole is doing what she needs to do to get through things & we are proud of her. She is strong & brave. I know that is what made you fall in love with her, not just her beauty on the outside, but the beauty on the inside. Thank you for helping her to see what you had kept telling her, while you were here. She has so many great friends that are pulling for her & Kayleigh, keeping them busy all the time. Everyone's life that you touched, has had great things to say about you. Just yesterday we heard another story about you, this time from a friend of ours that we've known since Desert Storm! He told Mike what a great teacher you were & it added another part of your life that even Carole was not aware of. You touched so many during your lifetime. Tomorrow will be a sad day, in this long year we have had. But one we knew was coming. Know that Mike & I try every day to make their lives a little more tolerable & we try to make them laugh. You are missed & always will be."
Cindy Cline of Waynesville, MO

"Well baby I am on my way to see you for a visit. I am sitting in the airport right now writing this and reliving the last flight I made to DC. I know it has been a long time since I took you there but I just haven't had the strength to come back yet. I am not sure if I have the strength now or now but I feel like it is the time and so I am on my way. I miss you so much sometimes it is hard to breathe. I think about you all the time and everything around seems to trigger a memory of you baby. I heard that stupid song on the radio this morning in the car..."Old Red" and I had to smile because I remember how you used to cut that up so loud and thats when you started wanting that kind of dog. And in the corner of the parking lot was a black Silverado and I thought "hes here with me even if he isn't"...I just never had any idea the pain that you can feel and learn to function with. It doesn't seem normal or natural to be able to function with this kind of pain going on inside all the time. My life will forever be minus a piece of itself from the 4th of May until the day I die and I see you again. I love you Gavin and will see you soon baby. Help me be strong for you."
Carole

"Hi baby. Sorry it has been so long since I have written you here but I have been writing you other places. Tommorow is a big day for out little girl. I can't believe she is gonna be out of my sight. The house is gonna be so quiet without either of you in it with me. I'm not sure I will know what to do. It's time though. She will have so much fun and is so excited. And I know you understand why she is not making the trip with me this time. It just isn't time yet. Soon, just not yet. I love you so much baby and I always will. Be with me tommorow it will be really hard for me to do. Harder than anyone realizes of course cause I don't tell anyone. She is my link to you--my little piece of you and I won't have her for a little while. It scares me. I know it will all be okay. Well I have to go pack her and you know how long it takes me to pack...LOL...love you baby...always and forever."
Carole

"Hi baby...Happy Valentines Day. Its been hard to be without you. Kayleigh has had a great day. She got lots of candy and cards and stuffed animals. There is no doubt how much she is loved by everyone we know. As I went through today I couldn't help but go back in time to our first Valentines Day together. Remember that one baby. I will never forget what you gave me. You made me the most wonderful valentine and it meant more to me than anything anyone has ever given me. You always knew exactly how to make me feel like the most wonderful and loved woman in the world. I love you so much Gavin. Nothing in the world will ever change that. My heart shattered nine months and ten days ago. It didn't break in half like someone who got divorced or broke up with a boyfriend--it shattered into a zillion pieces with no idea of how to pick them up and put them back together again. So I live one day at a time. Sometimes not that...sometimes one minute at a time to make it through one more hour. I still miss you so much and that isn't going to change. So Happy Valentines Day baby...I love you with my entire heart...every shattered piece still belongs to you and alwyas will."
Carole

"I saw the bird today baby. I really needed that. It gave me a boost of strength I needed about right now. Kayleigh has been asking about you a lot lately. She misses you so much. I think that hurts me more than my missing you. I hate seeing our little girl hurting and knowing I can't just fix it and make it better. I am trying the best I can. I will never let her forget you. And she will always know how much you loved her from the minute you found out we were gonna have her. We love you Gavin and always will. I love you baby."
Carole

"I know that Carole thinks everyone is slowly forgetting about you, but that is not true! You touched so many lives, you meant so much to everyone, & they think & miss you every day. Carole & Kayleigh miss you so very much. Carole puts on a happy face for the world to see, but inside she is so sad. She would give anything to have you back with her. We can't begin to imagine the pain she feels in her heart, all we can do is be here for her, which we always will be. For her & Kayleigh both. It's hard on everyone, each in their own way, their own pain. Gavin, no one will ever forget you. I want Carole to know that! We love Carole & Kayleigh & just want to help. Everyday I try to think of something that will help her, but I think only time can help & most of the time I wonder if that will. Know you are in so many hearts back here. Always."
Cindy of MO

"My Dearest Gavin-
I can't believe I sit here again to write that another whole month has gone by. 9 whole months without you. Things were supposed to be so different 9 months after you came home. Kayleigh and I miss you and talk about you all the time. It was good to go see Dan and Gretch and the boys last week. We all talked and laughed and cried...we cried a lot...but it was good. We are one family and will get through this together. I know you watched while I was in Texas and made sure I found the gift and for that I will be forever grateful. I love you so much my dear baby. I wish so much for things that cannot be and know I have to keep moving and wish for strength to face what will be. I love you Gavin. I will see you in my dreams.Love you alwyas and forever"
Carole

"We all miss you man, but we know your watching out for us up there. Your always with us and we all know it. You are missed, and always will be!!!"
SPC Gottschlich of Fort Campbell, Ky. (Chicago, Ill)

"Gavin-
Another month gone by without you by my side. It is really hard to fathom that you have been gone for 8 months. The picture I got in the mail this morning really took me back. It was so good to see you smiling and yet it made whats left of my heart crack and shatter a little more. It was no suprise to me to see you surrounded by kids-that was you. You were the grown up kid that everyone wanted to be around-kid or adult. I love you so much and wish we had had more time together. I wish you and Kayleigh had had more time together. We talk about you every day. We tell stories and look at pictures and cry and comfort each other. And the people around us help me tell her stories and talk about you so she will know you as best as I can manage. She will never forget you and she will know how much you loved her-I promise you that baby. And I will never forget you and I know how much you loved me and our family just like you always knew and still know how much I love you and how much I wish we could turn back the clock and make things different. I really feel like I am back on May 4 today baby.I can already tell today is gonna be a hard one. Please be with me and give me strength just like you do all the time. I love you always and forever Gavin. "When the rain is blowing in your face I would offer you a warm embrace to make you feel my love""
Carole

"My Dear Gavin-
Happy Birthday Baby! Wow it is really hard to believe that is is your birthday already. I miss you so much and so does Kayleigh. Remember that first year we were together and the terrible little carrot cake?? LOL I was thinking about that a lot lately and smiling remembering you being so proud to blow out the big obnoxious number candle I found. You know me and birthdays. I hope you like the card. I can't wait to see the pictures. And as crazy as it sounds, it was good to "talk" to you the other day. It was the closest to my being there as I could get and I really felt like I was standing there again. I miss you Gavin and the way our life was and all the things that are supposed to be now. I miss all the chances that we missed out on and I miss the simplicity of how life was before all this happened. I love you Gavin and always will. Me and Kayleigh were your biggest fans and supporters and always will be no matter what. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!!"
Carole of Reinke

"Dear Carole,
I was going through the slideshow of pictures on MSNBC ‘Year in Pictures’ and saw the caption ‘An Army wife grieves’. I paused, as I read the caption that told a brief story of U.S. Army Spc. Bryan Quinton, 24. Upon further research I noted that your husband was taken in the same tragic explosion. I left this message posted to Cyndi and now I am leaving it to you and your family. As a consultant who travels weekly by plane I come across many soldiers either returning or going to the battlefield, seldom reflecting on what the true cost of fighting for freedom is. I just want to say to you and your family, Thank You for such a high cost that Gavin lay on the alter of freedom. May God Bless you and keep you, remember he is with you always. Merry Christmas"
Peter of Jacksonville, FL

"Gavin-
Here we are at seven months already. I didn't write to you on Thanksgiving because it was too hard. I know that is probably a cop out to a lot of people but they all have something to say about me anyway. Thanksgiving was so our holiday. It was our favorite and we always did it together when you were here. I never imagined doing the rest of them without you here with me. I am getting the basement ready to turn into Kayleighs playroom and wow has that been hard. All of your "organized" stuff down there has given me some really rough moments. I am hanging in there baby and I am keeping my head up which is what I know you would want me to do. I know you would be really upset with the way some of the people are acting and some of the things that they are saying but you know what I am realizing...it really doesn't matter. Their opinions and feeling don't matter. This isn't their life and you weren't theirs. We may have shared our life and experiences with some of them, but you were mine and Kayleighs and I know how much I loved you and and I know how much you loved me and our little girl. I know the conversations we had and the plans we made--the things no one else knows and shouldn't try to pretend to. And I know that you wouldn't be happy with anyone hurting me or Kayleigh--that would piss you off because you always tried your hardest to keep us from getting hurt. I am learing a lot Gavin. I have learned that in tragedy you see the true colors of a lot of things and people and you see how much strength you and everyone around you has and it is suprising to me some of the things I am seeing. But you know what baby, I am still here and I am still keeping my head up and my heart together and I am living and being a good mom to Kayleigh and we are gonna make it. We are gonna miss you forever. We talk about you everyday and we love you sooo much and I still get angry that things aren't the way they are supposed to be, but that is life. So here we go, one more day, one more month. I love you Gavin and I know you know that no matter what anyone else says or does. You were and are the love of my life, my first love and always will be."
Carole

"Carole,
My heart breaks all over again, on healed but scarred lines... Please know you're not alone. It brings me right back to almost three years ago, and you know that I feel exactly what you're going through. I'm sorry I can't do anything more for you than others would like to. This is the hardest road you'll ever have to walk, and you can only go it alone, with the company of that man of yours over your shoulder. You know he loves you, and wants you to do what you have to. Gavin, Kayleigh, and you are the only ones you have to worry about, the only ones you need to think about and do things for. One of the hardest lessons to learn, but an important one. No one else is in your shoes, they don't know best, and they can't do things any better than you are. No matter what they think. I wish I had the perfect thing to help, to make things better-if only for a little while. Know that I'm thinking of you. Take care of you, and Kayleigh."
Marcie

"Gavin-
Here we are at the six month mark and it still seems like it was yesterday. So much has happened in this last week and the today. Today was a big day. It has been really good and really hard all at the same time. I wouldn't have wanted it not to happen but it was really hard seeing today. It makes me miss you even more Gavin. I feel so alone. Even sitting here in a house surrounded by my best friends I fell so damn alone and empty. My heart is breaking and I can't fix it. I can't make it better. All I can do is live. I went out last night and had a lot of fun. There will probably be a lot of people that criticize me but you know as well as I do that I have to keep living. That is all I do. Every day I get up and try to figure out how to make the pain manageable and make it through the day. I feel like this day might take me back under. I am trying so hard to be happy and brave but I don't really feel like I have it in any more. You were always the strong one and I relied on you more than I ever knew. Just like the other day when the remainder of the unit came home, I couldn't leave the gym. I left you there and you didn't come home and I couldn't leave Nutter. I felt like as soon as I left it was really real and you weren't coming home. And I know you never will. I am really alone and on my own. Me and Kayleigh against the world. I love you so much Gavin."
Carole

"Gavin-
Well today is the day. The end of the journey that the Fifth started almost a year ago. The busses start rolling in tonight and you won't be on them. You know I will be there because I don't know anywhere else to be. I have to be there to watch all the others come home safe to their families-I know that is what you would want me to do. And I have to finish what we started last November and see for one last time that you aren't coming home to me like you should. It will be really hard Gavin, but I will be there. Everything is so hard these days. I am trying to live and steal moments of happiness when I can and there are people who do nothing but constantly judge. I know you would want me to be living and I know since I still "see" you flying by that you aren't mad at me. I know you love me but it really hurts what other people do and say. I am gonna take a big step and start living my life without their permission or approval which is I know exactly what you would want me to do. But baby please try and be with not only me but these people who find it so easy to judge me. Try to show them how much they hurt me. Try to give them some sort of peace or something so they will leave me alone to live my life-without judgement or running mouths. My heart breaks every day for you and I would trade everything in the world for five more minutes with you-just to be able to hear you tell me one more time that you love me. I know that can't happen I have to settle for looking at photos and listening to Dr. Suess books on tape and pretending you are saying I love you. Just know I love you and if I have makeup on and my hair fixed and go out with friends from time to time it doesn't make the ache in my heart any less if anything it makes it more because it reminds me that this is not how things were supposed to be. It reminds me all over again that you are not here with me like you should be. I will keep living Gavin like I know you would want me to do for me and for Kayleigh and we will never ever forget you or love you any less. I love you baby and will miss you so much tonight and forever."
Carole

"Carole, I just wanted you to know that I love you and not a day goes by that I don't think about you!"
Melissa Booth of Waynesville, MO

"Oh Gavin I need you so much. One of the hardest times in my life is coming up so fast I can hardly stand it. I knew it was coming all along but now I think about it and I feel like I have been punched in the stomach. I know I am gonna sit in that gym surrounded by smiling faces and waving signs and camers flashing and watch the busses unload like last time the only difference this time being you won't be getting off like you should be. I know you are gone and aren't coming home but this really seems like the end for me. Someone told me I have already been through the worst day of my life and even this won't be that bad but it feels like it to me. It feels like finding out you are not coming home all over again. And yet I can't not go. I feel like I have to be there to finish what we started 11 months ago. I feel like I have to be there to watch the rest of them come home safe. I feel like that is what you would want me to do. I'm so scared Gavin. So scared of the future and the unknown and living life without you. And I am so tired Gavin. I am so tired everything and everyone. I am tired of the pressure coming from every direction. The pressure to be "okay" or the pressure to "not okay" because there are people on both sides of the fence. Some don't want to know that I am having a hard time. It makes them uncomfotable almost-as if this is about them! And then there are the others that I swear by what they say and how they act would rather me be crying my eyes out all the time. Well I didn't sign up to please everyone and I am really tired of it to be honest. I am tired of the looks like I have a disease because I am a widow-IT ISNT COMTAGIOUS! I am tired of conversations stopping when I walk in the room. I am tired of theattitude when I make a decision without asking for permission or approval and someone doesnt like it. I am just tired. I just want you back baby. I love you so much and will forever. Please give me strength and stay with me. I love you always."
Carole

"I am sitting here crying reading everything that Carole has written. She is in so much pain today & every day. It seems to come in waves, where she can control it & today is not one of those days. I don't come on these sites too often, they feel kind of private to me, plus not having the right words to say. But I know you understand & know how in everyone's heart what they are feeling. I wish I could make it better for Carole & Kayleigh. Kayleigh has really stuggled too, more since Dan was hurt. She asks for you all the time now. I just sit & cry and would give pretty much everything to fix this. Know we will always be there for Carole & Kayleigh. We love them both so much Gavin. Wish I had the answers......."
Cindy of Waynesville, MO

"Gavin-
I saw you today as you flew across the road. I am sure a lot of people will think I have really lost my mind when they read that but you know what I am talking about. You have been on my mind a lot lately...big suprise there. Halloween is coming up and I am not really looking forward to it. It was the last "holiday" we spent as a family. I remember last year you and Kayleigh carving pumpkins and making cookies and trick-or-treating and it makes me sad to think that so much has changed in the last year that can never go back. For the first time I can remember I have no desire at all for the holidays to come around and you know how much I love the holidays but this year I wish I could just fast forward through them all. I think about a Thanksgiving not in Colorado and it seems strange. I think about Christmas and yours and Kayleighs birthday without you and it makes me sick inside. I have known since May 4 tht things will never be the same but this is a really big hurdle for me, just like our anniversary and my birthday. I hate doing all this alone but I am hanging in there just like you would want me to. Having Q around makes things easier because she can finish my thoughts and doesn't look at me like I have lost my mind. I love you so tell Bryan that I am looking out for her as best I can just like she is looking out for me as best as she can. I love you Gavin and I always will, I just miss you so much. Other people have problems and I get that but they should be thankful for what they have. I wouldn't wish the last five months and eight days on my worst enemy. I love you baby. You are my world."
Carole

"Gavin-
Well it is almost the end of the day and I was doing pretty good but not so much anymore. My heart is broken. I need you so much. I am so tired of everything. I am so tired of hurting and being alone. I am surrounded by people and I have never felt so alone in my life. No one knows what to say or do and the reality is no one can make any of it any better. Life just sucks and I don't know how to do it. I keep tripping and falling down and I don't want to get back up. I just want to quit. I just want you back. I feel so empty inside and nothing can ever make that feeling go away. You are so far away and I am here alone trying to live. I hate talking to people about it because as hard as they try they don't know what to say or do and then they just feel worse and then I feel worse. I love you so much and life is never gonna be the way it should be again. Please give me strength Gavin. I love you always."
Carole

"Gavin-
It is so hard to believe that it has been five months since the day that changed my life forever. You were such an amazing man and soldier and father. I love you so much and miss you still everyday. I keep thinking one day I will wake up and will know how to breathe and live without all the pain but I don't know that that will ever happen. I am getting through just like you would want me to do. I hope you three are doing okay up there. We miss you so much down here. I love you always."
Carole

"Gavin-
Well here we are again with things feeling all lost. I miss you so much all over again. It is like a reality slap in the face that you really are not here and really are not coming home. I miss you so much. I don't know if I can ever say that enough that it makes any sense. You were so my whole world. You made everything better no matter what. All I had to do was talk to you and you helped me figure it all out and you would hold me and we could tackle anything in the world. I feel so lost without you. I think part of myself may still have been in denial and everytime something happens it just hammers it home all over again that you are not coming back. I am trying so hard to be strong like you would want me to be. I hope you are proud of me. Some days it is so hard to even get out of bed. It just doesnt' feel worth it some times but I know that I have to for myself and for Kayleigh and for you. I love you so much. You were the best. You were such an amazing man and I hope you know how much I loved you Gavin. Please stay with me. Hug Bryan and Caleb."
Carole

"Gavin-
It has been a while since I have written to you but I am sure you know how crazy things have been around here lately. I miss you baby. I feel you with me all the time, like this morning on the way to preschool with Kayleigh when we cut the radio on and the "daddy song" was playing and she sang along at the top of her lungs. I am sure you could hear her all the way in Heaven! She talks about you a lot these days. She misses you just like I do. She loves here daddy doll and goes to sleep with it every night. We are hanging in there baby and learning to live without you being here. It is hard, some days so much harder than others. And with the unit coming home in a few weeks I am a little scared at how hard that will be. But don't worry about me baby, I am strong and always have been. I have really good people around me who are making sure I am taking care of myself when I slip a little. I wish I had a countdown of days like the other wives. I wish I still lived in "the bubble" like so many people around here thinking that the little everyday things were the be all end all of life. But I guess God had a bigger plan for us baby, bigger than I realized at first. So I get up every morning and I smile because I had 8 wonderful years with you and I am thankful for them and would do them all over again even knowing how it would end. You taught me so much about myself. I am such a better person for having you in my life. And losing you has made me a stronger person, more understanding to other peoples pain and curcumstances in life. I love you Gavin. Watch over me and stay with Dan too as he continues down his road to recovery. Gretch and the boys need him so much. And watch over the rest of the boys still over there, especailly Tom and make sure as best you can baby, that they come home safe. I don't know if any of us here could take much more. I love you."
Carole

"Dear Carole,
Iam so sad for you and your family to hear sbout Gavins passing.Gavin and I lived on this tiny little street in Washingtonville N.Y. called Lark st. He was a great friend to me although we lost touch when he moved I always remembered the times we shared. I thought I would tell you a few of them - we always would go to his grandma and granpas they had this great pit made out of railroad ties that they would dump all the leaves into (they had the best looking lawn on the block) gavin Myself and a few other kids would stand on the side and jump in great fun when your 6 or7. The only rule was we had to help clean some of the leaves in order to jump.
Behind our house was this creek Gavin and I used to go to we would look for a big bucket put rocks and water in it then catch the salomanders and bring them back to the our house as pets.
There are so many great things to tell you about Gavin as you already know I wish you and your daughter the best if you ever just need to talk here is my email traceyengland@gmail.com"
Tracey Straut-England of New Hampton New York

"God doesn't give you what you can handle, He helps you handle what you are given.
Thinking of you, and the others..."

"Gavin-
I never imagined that after all we have all been through that something like this would happen. I don't understand any of this. They say that God doesn't give you more than you can handle but honestly when is it someone elses turn. It really feels like we have been through enough. I feel so lost. Everyone has always been so strong around me to help me through and I am not sure where to find the strength to help them with this. I need you so much right now. You were always the one who I turned to help me dig in and stay strong. I feel so weak right now, so tired. Please stay with me and give the strength and the heart to keep going and help them through this like they have helped me. I love you Gavin. Please stay with all of us."
Carole

"hi baby....4 months today...it is really hard to believe that it has been that so long since you left us...i still miss you just as much if not more today than the day you died...it was so good to sit and talk about you last night...i love you gavin...always and forever baby"
carole

"Hi Gavin,

I miss you a lot today. I just wanted you to know that you were on my mind today and always :)"
Chrissy of Houston

"I know you were watching us all tonight, as the kids had such fun on the 4wheeler, finally up and running again. Toby remembered just what you showed him last summer with the throttle. I remember that ride you took him on down into hidaway and when you both came back he had a huge grin and hair that was standing straight up. It felt good to see the kids have so much fun tonight. And it was good to see Kayleigh get her daddy doll today.. not the same as being able to really give you a hug, but the best I could do. I think about how its about to be four months since that terrible day in May, and I think of how much you have taught us all, how much we have learned from you and all of this. You have shown us how strong we are, even on the days we don't want to have to be strong. You have shown us the people that really love us, and you have redefined my family. I now have not only a best friend with a daughter, but a sister and a niece. I promise that we will always be there for them Gavin, me Dan and the boys. Know that we will never forget you. We will keep telling the stories and showing the pictures. You will live on in our hearts and minds. I know Dan misses you more than he can talk about right now. I know you would be proud of him soldiering on. Please keep your watch over him, and help us all get thru coming home. We miss you so much."
Gretchen

"Gavin-
I have been thinking about you a lot today.....and every day for that matter. Doug and I got to visit and share a beer with Carole when we were home recently. It was so great to see her! I wish more than anything that I could be closer to her right now....I just feel so far away. But I take comfort in knowing that she has some amazing friends in MO with her and I know that you are forever watching out for your special girl! I have to say that she is truly amazing. You would be so proud of her! I always knew that she was strong and I have always admired her commitment to the military and devotion as a military wife....but she has absolutely stunned me by her strength. She loves you so much and I will never forget when she met you.....and the never-ending smile that seemed to last forever. I remember the "meeting" we had when I insisted that you get the "Brittany approval"....and you definitely got the 2 thumbs up. You made her so unbelievably happy and at that moment I knew that my best friend had found her soul mate. You guys were the perfect couple and Doug and I have always admired your marriage. In fact, I have heard many times....:"why can't you be as supportive as Carole?" I will tell you that I am learning a lot....through your marriage and this tragic loss. Gavin, you were truly an amazing man....a gentle soul that will live on in people's hearts and minds forever. Thanks for making the ultimate sacrifice! Carole, I miss you so much and I am always here for you. Although I can't often wrap my head around this whole thing.....you are still my best friend and I love you dearly. I may never say the right things and I can't make the pain stop....but our friendship will never falter and I am always a phone call away or a half a days drive!!! Love you both!"
Brittany Brooks of Louisville, KY

"Gavin--
It has been so good to be with Cyndi the last couple of days. I am sure you have been watching us and how cute Kayleigh and Pyper are together. They are amazing little girls. You would both be so proud of them. I am actually feeling a little better. It has been really good to talk to her and cry with her and realize that we are feeling the same things and that neither of us are crazy. I am so lucky to have so many good people around me. I have felt a little less alone this week. Something about Wed just really made some things click into place. You are always with me and will be forever no matter what. And I am having a little easier time letting myself not worry so much about everything around me. I loved you with every breath in me and still do. And I have the best gift you could have ever given me in Kayleigh to have for the rest of my life. I need you to stay close to us and help guide me in raising her. She is so much like you--stubborn and smart!! I love you baby. Take care of yourself and the others."
Carole

"gavin,
there is not a day that goes by that we are not thinking of you. things here are crazy with everything going on but i just try to take it one day at time. somedays are good but then some days are bad and it hits me like a tornado. i have had a few days to sit around and watch deer and turkey hunting videos. it made me think of you and that i will no longer have my best friend with me to go hunting with any more. i will never forget the countless hours in the woods as our wives always wondered when we were gonna come home for dinner. i want you to know that i miss you and i will never find a friend like you ever again. you are one in a kind gavin and i will never forget your friendship. you were the best friend anyone could ask for. i am very proud of carole. you were right she is an amazing woman. she is very strong! you would be proud of her and how she is trying to continue her life without. i know she has very bad days but gretch and i are and will always be there to comfort her. i know that you are watching us and smileing down with your silly little smile and grin. please watch over me and keep me safe these last 2 months here. i promise when i get back home i will take care of your girls for you and i will never let them get out of my life. they are part of my family now! i miss you gavin and i love you bro!"
dan

"I feel you with me all the time. I felt you today as I took the big step. It was hard and it hurt like crazy, but it looks awesome. I know you can see from there. I know you were holding my hand the whole time. You will always be a part of me. None of us will ever forget you Gavin, I will make sure of that. You were my world from day one and it is so hard to think that you are really not coming back to me. I hope you are okay where you are surrounded by people who loved you and went before you and people who did't know you who need you to watch over them. Take good care of that little baby. It was hard to be there yesterday in the same place that you had been, but it was one of those things I needed to do and it was the right thing to do. I am doing what I can on this end and you need to watch over the little one. I love you Gavin. You were the best in the world."
Carole

"A few more days have passed and here we are still, seperated by miles and space and I miss you more than ever I have been having a rough couple of days/weeks, not that there is any time that has been easy since all of this happened.
"I am slowly falling apart. I wish you'd take a walk in my shoes for a start. You might think its easy being me. You just stand still, look pretty. Sometimes I find myself shaking in the middle of the night and then it hits me and I can't even believe that this is even my life. But people have problems that are worse than mine, I don't want you to think I'm complaining all the time. And I wish that everyone would go and shut their mouth, I'm not strong enough to deal with it." (The Wreckers)
But I'll keep going like I always do and I will keep my head up like you would want me to do. I love you Gavin-ALWAYS and FOREVER no matter. Stay with me baby. I love you."
Carole

"You would have been proud of your Broncos last night. They beat the Titans 35-10. I could feel your looking down at the game and smiling your sweet smile with the twinkle in your eyes. I know you were watching that game cheering on your team. I miss you. Give Carole the courage and strength to keep going forward. I want her to be happy again doing what she wants to do. Missing you and love always."
Mom

"Hard day baby...really hard. I miss you and need you now more than ever. I am so tired. Please give me strength. I love you."
Carole

"Gavin-
Hi honey. I know it has been a little while since I have written you. Don't think it is because I haven't been thinking about you. It has been just the opposite. I made the first road trip back to the fam since all this happened. It was harder and easier than I expected. It was really nice to go and be accepted with no questions asked and no judgements passed. Everyone is worried about me I know but I am hanging in there. I went by some of our old places, showed Lisa the parking spot in O'Charleys where you first kissed me and I met Doug and Brittany for a beer at Calhouns, eerie as it seems, they actually were sitting at the bar top where we sat that night to watch the game. We went to the Titans game which was kind of hard since the last time I was in that stadium to watch them play was with you. You had so much fun that night watching the Broncos for your birthday. You were like a little kid. It made me so happy to watch you. I always wanted to give you the world. I was so happy to be your wife and wanted nothing more in life than to love you and our daughter and make both of you happy. I love you Gavin. I sometimes wonder if my heart will stop aching. I really don't think it ever will. I love you."
Carole

"Carole,
You have been in my thoughts and prayers over the last several months. After reading a few of your postings it is obvious that Gavin was very lucky to have had someone love him so much. I know you have the strength to get through this. Thank you so much for the sacrifice that you, Gavin and your family made for all of us. Take care."
Margaret McRedmond of Cincinnati, OH

"Carole,
I just read about Gavin in SCA's Harpstrings. I am so, so sorry. I cannot fathom what you are going through. My heart is broken for you and for Kayleigh. I will continue to pray that God will begin to heal your heart and give you strength. My e-mail address is emily.moore@hotmail.com. Please let me know how you are doing.
Love always,
Emily Moore"
Emily Moore of Nashville, Tennessee

"Three months hves passed, but I still remember your laugh and cute smile. I miss you as much as did then. You served you country proudly. You were a super person, grest husband and father. I was proud to have known you."
Nancye

"Three months hves passed, but I still remember your laugh and cute smile. I miss you as much as did then. You served you country proudly. You were a super person, grest husband and father. I was proud to have known you."
Nancye

"Three months today baby and it is still as hard to believe as if it was yesterday. I miss you more today than yesterday. You were such an amazing man who gave me such strength and courage. It is hard facing the world without you by my side. I have to remind myself that you are always in my heart and never far away in spirit. I love you Gavin."
Carole

"Been thinking a long time what to write... words are so hard to get right sometimes. Three months ago ALL of our lives changed forever. My heart aches as I stand by Carole and watch her heart break over and over. Some days are better than others, but the pain is so deep. I promise to ALWAYS be here for her. I know you must be proud of her, because her strength and grace are amazing. She is one hell of a woman. I know that you knew that. There are so many good memories and we spend lots of time telling Gavin stories... stories of lost oars and late dinners. Please help give us strength this fall when your brother comes back and "loses" you all over again. I know he's hurting but has his job to finish over there. Thank You for watching over him. He needs you still. And Kayleigh ... She is such a smart little girl. Tonight at dinner, conversation about a flag sparked her memory. She sat and talked about taking you to Arlington. She remembers being there and the military honors they gave you. It was pretty amazing.
We will NEVER forget your sacrifice Gavin. We all love you and miss you!"
Gretchen

"Thank you baby!! I love you always and forever!!"
Carole

"Did you like the hat baby? I think I might become a hat girl after all!! I love you Gavin."
Carole

"Gavin-
Well here it is another birthday. I miss you today but I am getting through. Yesterday was a really rough day. Everything just felt like it was caving in around me. It was really the kind of day that I didn't know if I would make it through. The party helped, everyone being around. Samantha came which meant a lot and Kayleigh had a blast blowing out my candles. A lot of people called and I got more pictures of you yesterday from your visitor. I know you know who I am talking about. That meant a lot to me too. Still have to go get them developed. I talked to Dan, he called, knew it would be a rough day, but I made it through. I felt you with me last night which gave me strength. I know you are with me always and that keeps me going. No big day today. We went to Sonic and I am wearing your big buck shirt which makes me smile. I love you baby and I wish you were here with me. Take care of yourself and Bryan and Caleb. I love you."
Carole

"Gavin,
Today is Carole's 27th birthday, as I am sure you know. I wish so much that you were here to celebrate with her. I feel like she won't be celebrating very much without you. Being her Mother I wish I could do the suffering and hurting for her, but that is not possible. She was so happy with you and Kayleigh. I know she will always love and miss you, but I hope the hurting will gradually become less. I know you would want her to be happy and she is not now. Maybe time will change that. Christ the King began saying masses for you yesterday and will continue for the next two weeks. I keep Carole and Kayleigh in my prayers every day. I love both of them so very much."
Nancye of Nashville, TN

"Gavin-
Well here it is almost my birthday again. We used to joke that you only had to be here every other year for them since you were usually gone. It was funny then because we knew you would always be back for the next one. It hit me last night that you will never be back for another one. God, I miss you so much it hurts to breathe. I have this great shell going and I look great on the outside but everyday I feel like I am dying more and more. I can't imagine the rest of my life without you. I feel like everything I am doing is being scrutinized and nothing is good enough anymore. So many things have changed and I just want them back the way they should be. I know you would tell me to keep my head up and keep going that all I can do is my best. You would tell me you are proud of me and that you loved me, but that was you. You always loved me unconditionally and never judged me. You were so much more than my husband, you really were my best friend. I don't know how to keep living like this without you. I keep going because it is what you would want me to do and because I have to for Kayleigh, but it hurts. It hurts so much more than I can say or than anyone can ever understand. I just want to wake up from this really bad dream and have you back. I just want you back. I would trade anything in the world to have you back baby. I know it can't happen so I will dry my tears again and get up and keep moving and trying to live. Know how much I love you and that I would do it all over again with you even knowing how it would end. Please stay with me and give me strength. I love you so much Gavin."
Carole

"Carole,
I didn't know how else to contact you. This is Katie Crankshaw now Torbus. I was 2 grades below you at SCA. I received the Harp Strings magazine yesterday and I was reading through the memoriums. I was taken back when I saw your name and what happened to your husband. Carole, I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am. I have no clue what to say, except I am just heart broken for you. I just wanted to let you know I cared. My husband is also in the army and has been deployed to Iraq twice. I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. I haven't been able to stop thinking about all this since I first read it. Gavin is a true hero! You are a hero to Carole, being a military wife is never an easy job.

I am just so so sorry! I'm always here if you want to talk. You can reach me at coprtop104@aol.com. God bless you and your family!"
Katie of Clarksville,TN

"Gavin,
Your service to your country will never be forgotten. It is because of people like you that my daughter will be able to grow up and have a wonderful life. It is because of people like you that give me the freedom I have today. I am truly thankful for what you gave, but I am so very sorry for what you had to give up. I wish it hadn't happened! You are a true hero!"
Katie of Clarksville, TN

"Hey Gavin it is samantha i know I have not written on here but it is kinda hard and i still don't believe you wont come home. The last thing you sent me was great it really got me. kayleigh is getting so big and looks more like you everyday. We had plans to go four-wheeling when you got home.... we can't do that now and i wish we could. I am going to start writing on here when i can in my free time. Everytime I go four-wheeling I think of you. I remember one time when we went riding you almost took daniela and yourself down that huge hill in hideaway. Well i miss you alot and I hope your happy. Love you alot.


love,
samantha"
samantha

"GAVIN,
Hey man it is Criss I have been thinking about what I wanted to write I can not stop thinking about all the times we spent together on the river fishing and in the deer woods togehter. I still remember the first deer you ever took with your bow and the day we was turkey hunting and I called in two birds and looked over and you was asleep. I will miss the phone calls and the stories of the one that got away. Gavin I want you to know that I will always be there for your wife and daughter.You should see how big my girls are getting Catherine caught her first fish a couple of weeks ago pretty nice size largemouth.Well brother I want to thank you for always being there for me and for the freindship we have shared.The deer woods will not be the same but I know you will be right there with me. I Miss you brother."
Criss Davis of Shinnston, W.V

"Gavin,
I know that everyday that I roll out the gate you are with us all. I'll admit after everything happened I was terrified of going back outside the wire, until the First Sargeant had a talk with me, and told me this is what you wanted us to do, to continue the mission. Just know that there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about the three of you, and I'll never forget the comment you made to me when you learned i volunteered to stay here. Carole, if there is anything you ever need don't hesitate to ask, you and Kayleigh are in my prayers every night."
Eric of Coldwater, Ohio

"Gavin-
Chris stopped by the other night and we sat around and told funny stories that we rememebered....the ticket yall got with Ketterman that night...the 4 am phone call...and others we thought of. It made me miss you all the more. You were such an amazing person and so many people loved you and miss you. I miss you more and more every day Gavin. I want so much to just go back to May 3 and change something so that none of this happened, but I know I can't. I love you baby and I miss you more than anyone can ever imagine."
Carole

"Gavin,
I know that you are high in the sky watching me and protecting me as I continue to do missions her in Iraq. There is not a day that goes bye that I am not thinking of you and missing you. It is hard to put my gear on and go out and do what we do but as I leave the wire I feel you with me and I know that you are protecting me. You were my best friend and my brother and i will always treasure the last 4yrs that we had shared together. I will cherish my turkey mount and my deer head more than ever because you were there with me when i killed my very first turkey and when I killed my first deer with a bow. The woods will never be the same again without you there with me. You were my partner and I will never find another friend like you. I miss you more than anyone can ever think. I am and I always will be there and take care of your girls for you as best as I can. Know that I support her in everything she does with her life and I will always be there for her when she needs anything. I am a better person because of you! I miss you bro and I love you! Be my angel these last 4 mths that I have over here! Thanks for your friendship. I love you bro!"
Dan of st robert, mo

"Gavin-
It has been a few days since I have written to you. I have thinking a lot about you today. Not that that is anything new, I think about you all the time. I wish you could see how amazing the floors look in the house. They did an awesome job on them. We should be moved back in sometime this week. It will be really nice to be back home. I wish you were here with me going through all this and getting to enjoy the result. It is bittersweet doing all this without you. I am trying to follow through with the plans we had made as best as I can. There are days when I just want to give it all up and throw my hands up in the air and give in. Barbara says that is normal. She says that the grief comes in waves like the ocean. Some days it will just lap gently at the edges of my mind and then out of nowhere it will cover me and try to hold me down. I heard a Rascal Flatts song on the radio today and it felt like one of those really big waves. It was one of the songs I had put on that cd for you and it made my heart break all over again. I miss you so much baby and wish I could go back and change everything and bring you back to me. I wish so many things but mostly I wish and pray that you know how much I loved you from the night at Silverados and the day in O'Charleys parking lot and every day forward and that I will always love you and you will forever be in my heart."
Carole

"Gavin-
I miss you. I know I say that every time I write you, but for some reason today was a harder than usual day. Most people don't want to hear that. It makes them feel better when they ask how I am to just tell them fine. They all want me to be fine. They all want me to be happy like I was before all of this happened. I don't know how to be the old me anymore. I am trying to figure out how to be Carole now instead of just Gavins wife. It has been so long since I have been just Carole it is sometimes hard to know for sure who that person is anymore. I am figuring it out day by day. I just wish the days weren't so lonely. Even surrounded by people who care about me and that I care about I manage to feel alone all the time. There really is no one to talk to that help me make sense of anything that is going on in life right now. So I miss you and I know I always will. I know that I will get more used to it and that might make it "easier" as people like to say, but I will always miss you. You were my Gavin, from day one in O'Charleys parking lot. I love you baby."
Carole

"Gavin-
I saw the picture today. They finally updated and put it on. It was really hard to see. Almost as hard as taking you there and leaving you. I miss you so much and today made me realize one more time that you really are never coming back to me. I wish every day that things could be different. I am trying so hard to live my life and move on and make you proud, but it is so hard some days. So many people are being so good to me and then there are the few who insist on making life even harder right now. I wish for just a few minutes they could experience the range of emotions I go through in one day. Maybe if they could walk just a little ways in my shoes they could understand a little better some of the choices I make. You were always the one who I could talk to about anything. This is as close as I can get to asking you for advice anymore baby. I love you so much and am so thankful for all the time that we had together. My life is so much the better for your influence in it. Know wherever I am and whatever I am doing you are always a part of it Gavin. I love you."
Carole

"I never imagined spending our anniversary like this baby. Today was the happiest day of my life. I was so proud to become your wife. I love you more than anything in the world-more than ketchup daddy. I wish you were here. Love you always-"
Carole

"Gavin-
It has been a hard day. I know you are watching. Know I love you and I always will no matter when or where I am, no matter what. I love you."
Carole

"I know you are watching over your girls today and every day. I miss you so much. Carole is doing great on the house. You would be so proud of her. Peace be with you forever."
Nancye Clayton

"I know he's proud of you. I am - go girl!"
Alice of Anchorage

"Gavin-
I hope you were watching me today tackle the baseboards. Who would have thought I could do it and like it! We missed "Darth Vader" today but I know you were there in spirit. We love you baby!"
Carole

"Gavin-
Tonight was harder than I thought it would be. I know you understand and would support me. I just wish you were here to hold me. That always made everything better-just your arms around me. I miss you baby."
Carole

"Gavin
Well here we are at the end of another day. I hope you like the plans that we put in the works today. They are a continuation of what we had planned together. I love you so much and am trying to make you proud of me."
Carole

"It seems strange to celebrate fathers day without hearing your voice or talking to you on the computer. I know you are watching us and keeping us safe. I love you Gavin. Happy Fathers Day to the best dad in the world."
Carole

"I thought I was hearing things when we all heard our song at the fair last night. I know that your hand was in that baby-a sign if you will-thats what the girls said. I got ya...I understand. I love you always and forever Gavin, nothing will change that."
Carole

"I know you were there last night watching our baby be such a big girl. Larry and I think for talent next year we are gonna teach her how to work a turkey call. I know you would approve. I wish you could have been sitting with me watching her but I know you were watching from Heaven. I love you Gavin."
Carole

"Gavin-
I know you are watching me and you already know who I talked to last night, but I just thought I would let you know. I miss you so much but it was so nice to talk to someone who understood what is going through my mind these days. I know you guys are together and I am glad for that and now I don't feel so alone here. I love you so much and miss you until it hurts."
Carole

"Carole,
Anytime, I mean it, I am here. missingmygi03@yahoo.com You know how you go on?? You just do. Not much choice in the matter, you have kids, family, you just keep going through the motions until you're actually living again. It takes time, alot of effort, and sometimes you just can't seem to pick yourself up off the floor. But life goes on, and so do you-eventually. "If you're going through Hell, just keep going" Just take your time, this goes at it's own pace. But you have others here, out there, for you. Take care of you. We'll be thinking of you always. You have my number, call anytime. I remember - it's something you'll never forget."
Marcie of St. Robert

"Gavin-
Look at all these people who are saying all these amazing things about you. I always knew what an amazing man and soldier you were, but now the world realizes you are a hero. I love you so much and am so proud of all you did in your life. You inspired me every day to be a better person and you still do. I am trying my best to do what you would want me to. I love you so much now and forever. Please stay close by us and watch over me and Kayleigh. We need you still from you watching place high above."
Carole

"Thank you Staff Sgt Gavin Reinke for your life! An American HERO! You will always be remembered. Until we meet in our Heavenly Father's Homeland may you rest in Peace. God bless your soul, God bless your family!
From the Ruiz family"
Marilou, Manuel and Monica Ruiz of Los Angeles, CA

"SSG Reinke - You are among the best of the best!! On to your next duty, taking care of your family until we all meet again. Stay close, they need you - Always!!
Carole - I am always here. This is a long, tough road, but you don't have to go it alone. Stand tall, be proud, you have an amazing guardian angel watching over you!!
To the family - I wish you all the best. Take all the time you need - we will never forget!!"
Marcie of St. Robert, MO

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness,
and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief.
Our nations HERO, Gavin will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge / Montana God Bless you ALWAYS. "

"Thank you Gavin Reinke, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Gavin Reinke:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Gavin for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Gavin Reinke:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Gavin, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on