A Life Story Greg Reinert
I just got off the phone with my cousin and I am a bit dazed, to be honest.
Greg is dying and in hospice in Minnesota.
I talked with his mom, my Aunt Joan the day before, and she said Greg would like to hear from me so I called him right away that night.
I had not talked with Greg in a long time so I was a bit hesitant at first.
What do you talk about with someone that has only a short time to live?
Since I am a decent writer and write articles for a Christian Apologetic website and do interviews for a podcasting organization, I decided I would do a written interview with him, if he felt up to it, on his life story.
I set up a time with him for me to call him the next day when he had more energy.
He became very animated and thought it would be a great idea.
Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves, their history, and their family?
This journey would be interesting to unpack for him and me both because our lives intersected so many times in our younger years.
I am a Born Again Christian now but I was a very nasty atheist until I was 30 years old.
I understand what it is like to have a burning hatred toward God and want nothing to do with Him.
I did not believe in an Intelligent Designer behind the creation of the universe but at 30 years old I could not argue with science.
The Big Bang says the universe was created 13.8 billion years old, so if that is true, who pulled the trigger?
Who set time and space into motion at one point in time in the cosmos?
The universe could not just pop into being from nothing.
I started our interview by asking Greg when he was born?
July 22, 1958, was his answer, Evanston Hospital was the location, in the town of Evanston, Illinois.
I asked him, what was your earliest recollection as a child?
He said he remembers riding his bike and falling off and hurting himself on a Cul-de-sac where they lived on Huron Ct. in Arlington Heights in Illinois.
He also remembers putting on ice skates after an ice storm and skating up and down his street.
Grandma Detzner holding Greg as a baby.
Greg 3 years old
Greg at grandma Detzner’ house – 1 1/2 years old
Grandma and Grandpa Reinert, Uncle Jack (Tony’s brother) and Mom and Greg 4 1/2.
Mom and Greg. Greg’s about 4.
Greg, Grandma Reinert holding Nancy. My and mom. Grandpa Reinert. 1970?
Mom, Nancy, Greg, Linda and dad. 1970?
Greg 2nd grade
Greg 4 and Mom
Greg, 4th grade
His father, Tony, was a dentist and he remembers going to his dad’s office and his dad showing him what he did for people when it came to having their teeth fixed.
Tony did all own lab work as well as working on dentures.
Greg said he was fascinated by that and thought that at the time he would like to do that work also and maybe he and his dad could work together someday.
He remembers his dad taking him to lunch from time to time.
When Greg told me this story, I remember going to see my uncle, Tony, when I needed work done on my teeth as a teenager and young adult.
In my junior and senior year of high school, I worked for a photography studio and the studio needed help photographing a wedding, so I remember asking my uncle Tony, who I knew was interested in photography, if he would like to photograph a wedding.
Tony took Greg with him on a couple of these weddings and Greg told me he remembers doing that very clearly and that he liked it so much he started a photography club in Junior High and High School.
I had no idea!
Greg 13 years old
Mom, Dad, Greg, Linda and Nancy. Greg 14 years old
Greg said he went to school his freshman year at Hershey high school in Arlington Heights and then his last three years at Buffalo Grove.
He said he remembers graduating from High School and how proud he was and how proud his parents were of him.
He said he entered a junior college soon after graduation but did not graduate from that school.
Greg said he was a bit aimless at that point and a friend invited him to meet with an Army recruiter, which he did.
He members thinking, “What do I have to lose”.
He liked the visit and learned much about the military.
The recruiter asked him what he like to do and he told them, working with computers, was a fairly young field at the time.
The Amy recruiter had him take a few tests to find out his strengths and interests.
They said the Army would be a good fit for him and would train him in computers as well as electronics.
He decided to join and went through basic training.
Greg said that basic training was quite an experience all by itself.
He said he was not too surprised at how hard the drill sergeant was on all the recruits because he had watched some movies before he went in.
The Army taught him mainframe, and computer repair and made him responsible for maintaining two generators to power the computers, in a semi-van.
He remembers going back to see his mom when on leave and she would take him to church in his uniform.
She was so proud of him he said.
US Army Bases in Germany
He was stationed at different locations in the world but his favorite was in Germany where he was for 3+ years.
He said he lived on base with other German Nationals.
Greg said he made some close friends.
“I miss many of my German friends to this day”
He remembers getting a Euro Travel Pack for the train and he would travel all over Germany for next to nothing.
He enjoyed the people and the lifestyle in German very much.
“It was more laid back than the US and more friendly” he said.
When he would sometime travel near the DMZ, the border between Germany and Russia, and the tension was always very high.
When ever there was an alert between Germany and Russia, all the US personnel were required to drop what they were doing and pare up with the German military and be ready for action.
One regret was he never got to meet any Russians.
One day, his Master Sergeant asked him if he would like to take over procuring Christmas trees for the different American bases all over Germany.
To see if he liked it, he went with his Sargent to see what it was all about.
It was so much fun that he took on that responsibility right away.
Greg said Germany goes all out celebrating Christmas.
This job took him all over Germany for a couple of years.
He met many great people in the process.
Boy Scouts in Germany would come in and decorate the trees on the bases.
Greg said he really loved this job.
Greg got the chance to drive a A1 Abrams tank
Greg got the chance to train with all kinds of automatic weapons including Grenade Launchers
Greg said he learned German right way and the language was not foreign to him because he remembers hearing his grandmother and mother speak it all the time while he was growing up.
This was something I remember also as a child and teenager. Whenever our families got together the older generation would speak German with each other.
While in the Army in Germany, the military on both sides would make sure you were proficient on many different weapons so they would pare him with different German Nationals for training and then receive a certificate.
He would learn both American and German weapons such as different automatic guns and grenade launchers.
Some machine guns would only fire off a three-round burst every time you pulled the trigger.
He said that was a hoot learning those weapons.
Greg also told me about the time they taught him how to drive an A1 Abrams tank.
He said “Not many people got a chance to do that”
He also said, the funny thing was that they would teach one side of the tread and someone else would run the other side unless they put it in automatic mode.
“The power and complexity behind that machine was amazing” he said.
He was separated from his daughter, Amanda, at this time in Germany and he tried to talk her into coming to live with him, but she did not want to go live there.
She ended up living in a foster home for a while so Greg asked for a transfer back to the United States so he could be closer to her.
Greg said “I was very sad to leave the many friends I had made and leaving Germany”
The military stationed him at Fort Campbell at the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
He retired from the Army at this location after spending 8 years in the military.
While he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Greg said he and his wife Anne bought a house and lived there for a while together with his daughter Amanda.
Greg said the US Army was very good to him.
Before he left the military, he applied for jobs in the private sector and landed a very good one doing computer repair, replacing motherboards, circuit boards, and keypunching as well as computer diagnostics.
Greg and Matthew 2007
Greg and Linda’s oldest son Steve. Last time we saw him in 2011.
He said his relationship was not good with his daughter, Amanda, for many years but it improved before got sick.
I was able to gather this information on my first two interviews with Greg up to this point.
We had a third one scheduled but Greg went downhill at the hospice care very quickly.
The last conversation I had with him, he was in a lot of pain but he said he still wanted to talk because he still had information to give me.
I did not want to push it because of his frail condition.
I wish I had pushed it for his sake.
I did share my belief in Jesus Christ and what it meant to be born again from Jesus’s perspective and enter the kingdom of God.
I told him of my journey of finding God one spring and summer of 1982 and traveling up the coast of California and Oregon to a small community and church in the Little Applegate outside of Medford, Oregon.
This was a story of how I went from a nasty atheist to a believer in an Intelligent Designer and Jesus.
Greg liked my story and wanted to know more.
God had other plans for the end of this story.
I sure hope my cousin and I can finish it up together at some point.
Maybe, having lunch together on one of the moons of Jupiter.
I would like to invite my grandparents and parents to that meeting.
As I end this writing, I feel honored and blessed that my cousin Greg and I were able to connect and that he was in a place to share his life story, and that he could look back with fondness over his past.
What a journey each and every one of us are on!!
A Life Story Greg Reinert
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Two Measures Foolish: Foolish to God for we sin – Foolish to the world for the cross.