VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After over three decades since he was killed in the line of duty, Jeffrey David Reel got his promotion ceremony.
Reel was born and raised in Knox County and wanted to serve his country from a very young age. Eventually, he was promoted from Private to Specialist.
However, on the same day, he was killed in combat and was not able to officially receive his promotion until Saturday.
Martin Qualkenbush is with the Knox County Department of Veteran Affairs, and he believes that every solider deserves to be recognized for their promotions.
“It’s important to recognize the fact that after all these years, that there are still ways to recognize every fallen solider and every service member that has ever served to award them with the distinction of being promoted,” said Qualkenbush.
No one wanted this ceremony to happen more than Reel’s family. The only thing they would have had different was if their parents were still alive to be able to see it.
Fred Reel is Jeffrey’s brother, and he is grateful for the fact that his brother was finally recognized after three decades after his service.
“When something like this happens, unfortunately, a lot of the time it goes unnoticed. People don’t understand that we live in this country free and there is a reason why. It’s an honor and a privilege to thank a veteran for me,” said Reel.
Even though this was long overdue, the sacrifice Jeffrey Reel made for this country is one that his brothers in arms, friends, and family will always be forever grateful for.
“It’s important to honor everyone any time this happens regardless from the length of time from when it happened until today when we were able to honor this young man who gave his life to our country,” added Qualkenbush.
This ceremony was made possible with the help of documents from Washington D.C. and hard work from Knox County and other local veteran services.