PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sgt. Edward Greiner, Jr. was dedicated to the military.
Preparing for his third deployment overseas, he headed back to Fort Bragg in March where he was based. On his way to babysit for a friend, he was hit by a truck while on his motorcycle.
He died in the crash.
Sgt. Greiner’s life was taken too soon, but a local teenager is making sure to honor him and remember the good he did.
Thirteen-year-old Tyler Kautzman became friends with Sgt. Greiner five years ago. For his eighth birthday, he requested that instead of presents, he receive donations of items to send to a soldier overseas.
Tyler said he had enough stuff and wanted to send the package, “so they knew people at home cared about them and were thinking about them.”
Problem was, Tyler didn’t know any soldiers. A friend at his family’s church told them about a soldier from the Tarentum area, Sgt. Greiner.
Tyler received 400 pounds of donations that birthday.
With the help of the Yellow Ribbon Girls, they shipped dozens of care packages to Sgt. Greiner and the troop he was with from the 82nd Airborne Division.
The friendship between the two grew from there. Last year, Sgt. Greiner surprised Tyler for his 12th birthday. They made plans to go fishing for his 13th. Sgt. Greiner would miss that birthday.
But during his grieving, Tyler decided he wanted to do something to honor his Army hero, planning a 5K run and walk in his memory.
“I wanted to do this 5K in his memory, to let people know what a good person he was and a friend, too,” Tyler said while talking with KDKA’s Heather Abraham.
The SSG Edward F. Greiner Jr. Memorial 5K Walk/Run is scheduled for Sunday, July 29 at the North Park Boathouse. Around 200 had pre-registered as of Wednesday morning. The Kautzman family is expecting a few hundred more on race day.
All the proceeds will go the Yellow Ribbon Girls, a group whose mission is to ship care packages and much needed items to soldiers overseas.
If you would like more information on the 5K and how to register, the website is: http://www.eddie5kwalk.com/.
You can find out more on the Yellow Ribbon Girls here: http://yellowribbongirls.com/.