Our actions can reflect who we really are as a person. This ordinary-looking old man in Texas proves he is full of love and compassion, caring for a complete stranger’s grave—a young soldier killed in action.
Jake Reissig is an average-looking senior citizen who goes about a normal life—but there is one unusual addition to his daily routine. He honors a fallen soldier through this most gracious of actions, watering the grave of the soldier when he cares for his own wife’s grave.
Reissig leads a quiet, retired life. He wakes up early morning and goes to church to attend mass. He then spends time with one of his nine children, having a cup of coffee. He returns home, goes and picks up one single rose from his rose garden, and walks to the cemetery—rose in hand—to where Elizabeth, his beloved wife of 65 years, is buried.
Alluding to the then-86-year-old Reissig, his son, Roger, told CBS News in 2015, “She was beautiful to him. And he always recalls how Liz was always ‘dressed to the tee.’”
This is the one place where the loving husband gets to spend time with his wife, who succumbed to heart issues in May 2014, and talk to her as he did before. He also carries a rose for her as he always did when she was alive.
When the loving husband found that the grass around the grave was drying up fast due to the intense summer, he took a hose and watered the lawn around her gravestone twice a day. That became a part of his daily routine, and he would talk to her while he watered the crisp, brown grass.
On one such occasion, as Jake was watering around Liz’s gravestone, he noticed a young woman kneeling and crying at one of the nearby graves. Having experienced the pain of losing a loved one, he went over and consoled her. While chatting with her, he learned the young woman had lost her brother in 2010. Joseph Villasenor (Joe) had been a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
Reissig now had an added responsibility during his daily routine: to make sure that the grass around Joseph’s plot was also well watered.
“He’s just a giving person. When I saw it, I just couldn’t believe it,” said Roger, the kind old man’s son, who occasionally accompanies his father to water the lawn around his mother’s grave.
When the Villasenor’s family members visited the grave, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Roger said, “They thought it was a miracle.”
Reissig received a warm and appreciative hug from Villasenor’s parents when they visited their son’s grave and noticed the kind widower taking care of their precious child’s grave.
“Do you want to water it?” Reissig asked the soldier’s mother as he turned to her. Then she took the hose with tears in her eyes.
Roger said, “They couldn’t believe a stranger would do that for him.”
As for Reissig, well … he does not consider himself a stranger. Every day while he waters the grass, he has a little chat with “Joe” too.
Roger said, “The way dad treated mom and all of us, it’s not a surprise.”
Roger decided to post his dad’s story on Facebook, and hundreds commented and thousands shared it. One user said, “Your mom and dad’s romance is not over.” Another one commented, “What a beautiful tribute.”
“They’re right, it was a storybook,” Roger said.