|Family of fallen soldier creates legacy for their son|
|Written by Joanne M. Haas/Wis. DNR|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 08:02|
BELOIT -- The legacy of Spc. Tyler Kreinz, a Beloit soldier who died a year ago in Afghanistan, walked with 13 recruits across the graduation stage July 6 and into the Wisconsin Conservation Warden Service in front of families and friends.
Seated near the back of the audience at the Fort McCoy ceremony were Tyler’s parents, David and Mary Kreinz.
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Tyler Kreinz was born with a passion for the outdoors that had been surpassed only by a passion to serve his country. He had plans to become a conservation warden after his tour of duty with Operation Enduring Freedom, but that dream ended when he died June 18, 2011.
At the age of 12, Kreinz was so moved by the September 11 terrorist attacks that he vowed to join the military when he turned 18.
David Kreinz told the Associated Press shortly after his son’s death that Tyler excelled in school and sports, and “he was a perfect gentleman.” David Kreinz respected his son’s unwavering determination to serve in the military before pursuing a warden career, and he supported his son’s decision.
Tyler Kreinz’s obituary detailed his impressive service that earned him a rank of Specialist and to be part of the U.S. Army Armored Division as a tanker and an Army scout. Kreinz and his team would provide forward support for units moving into unsecured areas to make sure it was safe for the units to follow.
“Tyler became an expert in American and German weapons and was an expert marksman,” his parents said in a statement included in the graduation program.
And it was Kreinz’s extraordinary marksmanship that fueled his parents’ long-term commitments to keep their son’s dream alive for others.
David and Mary Kreinz last year met with Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark and John Daniel, a retired warden now with the Wisconsin Conservation Warden Association, to put into motion two ideas.
The first was the creation of the Tyler Kreinz Memorial Scholarship from donations after their son’s death and with the help of Stark, Daniel and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The first scholarship was presented on March 30 to UW-Stevens Point student Courtney Adair, who plans to become a park ranger with the U.S. Park Service.
The second became a reality July 6 at Fort McCoy.
In a speech interrupted by emotion, Stark fought back tears and told the audience about his admiration for the Kreinz couple who battled through their grief to also create the Tactical Proficiency Award in Tyler’s name.
One member of each graduating class would receive the award based upon demonstrated tactical proficiency, he said.
“The Kreinz family will be involved in every presentation at the class graduation ceremony,” Stark said. “It will allow people to meet Tyler in a vicarious way and his legacy would live on. Tyler will be part of the Warden Service through this tradition.”
“The purpose of life is to have a purpose in life,” Stark told the 13 recruits seated at his side. “You are what Tyler never got the chance to be. Make the most of this opportunity. Follow Tyler’s, Dave’s and Mary’s lead, and make a difference in people’s lives.”
Tactical Officer Roy Kubisiak then came to the podium and presented the award to a surprised newly graduated warden — Kyle E. Lynch.
Then the 13 recruits walked across the stage to accept their warden challenge coin from Stark and sign their names on a large wall-size poster detailing the warden’s code of ethics.
The last one to get the pen was David Kreinz, who signed in as Tyler Kreinz.
Tyler Kreinz, the young man born to serve, became graduating conservation warden number 14 — forever.
Joanne M. Haas is the public information officer of the Bureau of Law Enforcement, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
|Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 08:24|