Friday, March 30, 2007

Greg Riewer remembered

Greg Riewer and his brother, Andy, joined the Minnesota National Guard within months of each other in 1997, the year Greg graduated from Frazee-Vergas High School.

When their unit – the Bemidji-based Company A, 2nd Battalion, 136th Infantry – was deployed to Bosnia in 2004, the brothers went together, serving in the same platoon.

Greg Riewer didn’t plan to volunteer for a tour of duty in Iraq.

But he did just that after his brother told him he had signed up.

“Since I was going, he didn’t want to miss out.” Andy Riewer said Monday, talking about his brother, who died Friday when the vehicle he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

“People say I was Greg’s rock. I say we were kind of each other’s rock,” Andy Riewer said, speaking from his parents’ home in Frazee.

Riewer, who returned from Iraq on Sunday night, said his brother had a reputation for being the kind of soldier who did the right thing, even when no one was watching.

Ask anyone in Frazee about the Dick and Jan Riewer family, and you’re apt to hear words like hard-working, dependable and selfless.

In the case of Greg Riewer – the middle child among 12 siblings – you can add humble, unassuming and patriotic, according to those who knew the 28-year-old.

“Greg was a very quiet young man,” said Jay Estenson, the owner of a local hair salon who is helping organize memorial efforts.

She recalled a Memorial Day service several years ago when Greg and Andy Riewer came home for a visit and ended up taking part in the day’s ceremonies.

“Greg was at the front of the formation. To see the tears well up in his eyes … he was so patriotic,” Estenson said.

“We’ve watched them all grow up,” said Shirley Fett, referring to the Riewer children who often visited the Frazee Care Center, where Fett works with Jan Riewer.

Fett said all of the Riewer children inherited their parents’ sense of duty and responsibility, including Greg, who worked at the care center while in high school.

“He would do anything in the world for anybody,” Fett said.

Darlene Kimball agrees.

“Greg worked for me until the day he left for Iraq. He always did the very best job he could,” said Kimball, who was Riewer’s boss at Yards and More, a landscaping business in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

“He was in Bosnia prior to going to Iraq, so he really didn’t have to go,” Kimball said of Riewer.

“I talked to him when he was trying to make that decision. He was worrying a little bit,” she recalled.

There will be a memorial service at the high school in Frazee, with visitation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Both are tentatively set for the middle of next week, said Preston Eidenschink, director of Furey Funeral Home.

Three other Guard soldiers were injured in Friday’s attack, but information about them is not being released, said Maj. Patricia Baker, a Guard spokeswoman.

From WDAZ 8

Related Link:
Greg N. Riewer dies of injuries from I.E.D.