‘No Marine left behind’ applies to roadside assistance, too | PostIndependent.com

‘No Marine left behind’ applies to roadside assistance, too

Mike Rieger of Rieger Performance Motors in New Castle works on a truck belonging to a young Marine after he experienced mechanical problems while passing through the area Sunday morning.
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A social media network intended for military personnel to seek help when they’re stranded or need help while traveling prompted a Garfield County military mom and an area mechanic to action Sunday.

Shauna Zelenka of Silt, whose son Devan Williams is in the Marines, said she was monitoring a Facebook group Sunday morning when she noticed a post from a fellow military mom in Indiana seeking help for her Marine son, Chris Sims, whose truck had broken down outside New Castle on his way home to Iowa.

“I realized I was only seven miles away, and with it being Sunday I knew it would be hard to get him into a shop,” Zelenka said. “But I knew that one of my friend’s boyfriend is a mechanic, so I gave them a call.”

Mike Rieger of Rieger Performance Motors was quick to respond, and within a few hours had Sims back on the road and headed home to his wife and three kids in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“He sent me a message this morning with a picture of his truck in the driveway, saying he’d made it home safely,” Zelenka said.

She said it’s common for Facebook groups and other Internet-based networks to be used by military personnel if they’re stuck at an airport or stranded somewhere. Last year, Zelenka said her own son responded to a message and went to pick up a fellow serviceman who had a flat tire and took him to a tire shop in Glenwood Springs.

Sims’s mother, Heather Kiser, said she was grateful that Zelenka and Rieger were able to help so quickly. She explained that Saturday was her son’s last day as an active Marine, and he was trying to make his way home from Oceanside, Calif.

“Not only did Shauna respond to my message asking for help, she went above and beyond and contacted Mike for us,” Kiser said in an email to the Post Independent Tuesday morning. “Mike drove to where Chris was broke down along the side of the road to make sure he was OK and to see what he could do to help.

“While waiting for the tow truck to show up, Shauna took him food and drinks and to check on him as well, she said.

As for Rieger, “not only did he give up his Sunday, he provided the parts at cost and charged nothing for labor. As a mother … I am in complete awe of the kindness that our family received from your little town,” she wrote.

Zelenka added, “It gets to the whole motto, no Marine left behind. As a mom, I couldn’t imagine my son being on the side of a highway stuck so many miles away like that.”

Zelenka also wanted to acknowledge Rieger for “the great deed he did coming to this young man’s aid on a Sunday.”

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