BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Each weekend in July, we’re honoring a local veteran and sharing their story with our viewers.
This weekend, we’re excited to introduce you to Army veteran Jim Reynolds.
“I developed a love for my country. That will never change,” said Reynolds.
Jim Reynolds of Bentonville recalls his time serving in the Army from a bird’s eye view.
“I went to Vietnam in February of ’69 and I’m proud to serve the First Air Cav – the 1st and 9th in First Air Cav,” he said.
Reynolds’ passion for flying started when he was in college, leading him to serve as a scout pilot during the war.
“Our primary job was to scout and report any movement which we learned that how, with experience, you learn how to see a trail and you see how current that trail is, how many people are on that trail,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds served in the Army full time from 1968 to 1972 and was ranked captain.
He joined the National Guard from 1972 to 1980, giving 12 years of his life to humbly serving his country, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
“When I see a serviceman in the airport I just do this [pats heart] and every one of them says ‘Thank you, sir,’ and that’s just part of being in the military,” said Reynolds. “Recognizing the sacrifice the young people make today, and it’s just as hard as the one I made 50 years ago.”
Reynolds says the memories he cherishes most are the ones he made with Joe Breski — his best friend who was shot and killed when their unit was attacked.
He also recalls the night in 1969 when he was in the bunker listening to the Texas vs Arkansas game over the radio.
“The announcers said ‘Live from Fayetteville, Arkansas’ and well that brought goosebumps to me. Well then, I said, with tears and wonderful smiles, we call our beloved Hogs,” said Reynolds.
After serving his time overseas, Reynolds came back home to the Natural State.
With help from his friend, Sam Walton, he was able to get a job with Walmart and even got some motivation to get fit.
“I said, Sam, if I lose 40 pounds will you sponsor me in the New York Marathon?” said Reynolds. “He said sure, I lost the 40 pounds, and he sponsored me.”
Now married and retired at 74 years old, the veteran says he’s staying fit by being part of the Move program with the VA.
He also competes in speed-walking races and different racket sports in the National Veterans Golden Age Games for the RazorVets team.
This year was Reynolds fourth year to compete.
“If you’re going to succeed in something, you got to work at it, and if you don’t work at it, you’re not going to be good at it,” said Reynolds. “I want to be good at it, so I work at it.”