|MARTIAL LAW / REETZ FAMILY
By Paul Strong - Martial Law Monster Truck
June 26, 2007
I could not come up with a better title for this story, as there is no way for me to say it in just a few words.
Earlier this year, we were contacted by Eric Reetz of Minnesota in regards to doing a birthday party for his son Ethan, who was turning 5 years old. We didn't know Eric and had never met his family. I read his story and was truly touched by it.
Eric is an Army soldier in Iraq. He has been in Iraq since October 2005. He was supposed to be home this past March, but his stay was extended until late July, so he was not going to be here for Ethans birthday (in June).
Ethan is a huge monster truck fan. He had seen our truck on display in Melrose, MN. He had also seen me race at the MN State Fair in August 2006, and the Metrodome in January 2007. He has a huge collection of Monster Truck toys and was having a Monster Truck themed birthday party.
I really wanted a way to give back some of what I have gotten, and figured a small way to do it was this birthday party for Ethan. It fit perfectly into my plan of giving a little back and feeling a little better about what we are doing. I didn't want any money, any gifts, or anything at all other than the opportunity to be able to hang out with Ethan and celebrate his birthday. We were able to celebrate Ethans 5th birthday on Memorial Day. The look on his face and his overall reaction to having a monster truck sitting in his driveway was worth more than anything I could have gotten in return for it. It was truly and honor to be able to do this for him.
Today, as we returned home from camping with our own family for the past couple of days, I received a package in the mail from Eric. Below is a copy of the letter he sent to me, along with photos of the gifts that he sent me.
June 15th, 2007
Just a short note again expressing my gratitude for doing what you did for my son's birthday. He is still talking about it. Janelle sent me some pictures of the party. I was smiling and showing everyone here. All my guys here thought that was pretty cool.
To further show my appreciation, please find the enclosed flag and certificate. I had this flag flown in your honor. It was flown on June 14th, 2007 at our compnany command post. I picked June 14th because it is a national holiday not so well known for 2 reasons. First off it is the U.S. Army's birthday. The Army was created on June 14th 1775. Second, it is also known as Flag Day. I thought it would bring special meaning to have it flown on this day. Please hang it or do whatever you like with it. I am very proud to send this to you. You have brought great joy to me and my family. I have also enclosed a "KIA" bracelet for you. It's a bracelet that we had made to honor our good friend/brother SSG Greg Riewer. He was killed 23 March 2007 by an Improvised Explosive Device (Roadside Bomb). He was in my squad and he was like a brother to me.
If you look on the left side of the bracelet, you will see what looks like a ball. That is our Division Insignia. We are the 34th Infantry Division. Put the bracelet on display with the flag or wear the bracelet, whichever you like. If you do wear it and people ask you about it, you will have to let them know that it is in honor of a brave MN Soldier taken away from us way too early. He was 28 years old and just recently got engaged before he was killed.
I have also enclosed a DVD video that I personally made while over here. You can play it in any DVD player. I will caution you that the F-word is used a couple of times by the singer. If this offends you, I am sorry.
Again, I am saying a BIG Thank You to you, your girlfriend and Martial Law for brightening my son's day. This stuff that I have sent you is a small token as I would never be able to repay you for the amount of joy and happiness spread.
Sgt. Eric Reetz
Al Anbar Province, Iraq
*P.S. As you get this, there is a good chance that I may well be on my way back to the states. I look forward to personally meeting you.
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In all my life, I have never received anything that caught me so off-guard, and that meant so much to me. This is really what makes it all worth it right here. Some little boy that lives only about 30 minutes from me will never forget his 5th birthday, and I will never forget him or his family for allowing me to come into their home and celebrate it with them. All of the hard work, long nights, endless days, blood and sweat that has been put into this monster truck has just proven itself to me. Our time has not been wasted and we have accomplished so much more than I could have ever dreamed.
Eric, I very much appreciate the flag, DVD, certificate, and the bracelet. I almost feel like I cannot accept them, but will proudly display them and never forget where them came from and the sacrifice it took to get them here. You have got an amazing family and I cannot wait to hang out with them again. Ethan was my little helper this past weekend at Valley Daze and had a great time getting his elbows dirty. You are all more than welcome over here any time you want. I look forward to your safe return home. I guess I'll be seeing you at a show this summer in New Ulm! Again, thank you. You did not have to send that package, but I very much appreciate it. I have never been so touched by such a kind and honorable gesture.
Martial Law Monster Truck
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