Each ride-day the Light the Trail team will #Ride4 a victim of suicide to honor and celebrate their life, and to further healthy conversation about this important topic. If there’s someone you’d like us to #Ride4, please visit the #Ride4 page.
October 15th, 2017: #Ride4 SGT Shawn “Rangersmurf” Reilly (by Carrie Reilly)
Tell us about them…
I became a widow on October 16, 2011 when I lost my husband, SGT Shawn “Rangersmurf” Reilly, to PTSD and Traumatic Brain injury.
He was part of Panama Operation Just Cause parachuting with the 75th Ranger Battalion. He was deployed in 2005 to Operation Iraqi Freedom and in 2007 he was deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom with the 181st Engineer Company. In Ranger school in 1988 he was awarded a trophy for most motivated soldier. He was the proud recipient of Combat Jump Wings for jumping into Panama with the 75th Ranger Battalion during Operation Just Cause. He received the Purple Heart Medal for injuries he sustained over in Iraq , Shawn also had Three Campaign Stars, the U.S. Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. He was an exemplary soldier and loved by many. He was a jokester and the boys in his unit nicknamed him RANGERSMURF because he was only 5’5”.
He would do anything for anyone that needed help. He loved football. The Vikings were his favorite team. Shawn was an avid hunter and enjoyed everything to do with the outdoors. His favorite place was in his tree stand in the woods. Shawn loved being a Ranger and as he called it “Playing Army”. He loved his job serving his country.
How has your perspective of depression and suicide shifted over time?
My perspective on depression and mental health changed the day I became my husband’s caregiver when he got home from Iraq and was medically retired. I now do whatever I can to advocate for depressive or suicidal vets and help whomever needs it.
A small special way we can celebrate them on the road?
Just by you doing this for my husband and all of the ones we lost is celebrating them.
Is there a particular favorite song or band of theirs, or one you remember them by?
One song in particular that makes me think of my husband is Linkin Park’s song ONE MORE LIGHT.
If you appreciate our work and would like to help us bring the conversation to light, please consider donating here to help the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation continue their efforts.