Ribbon will stay until soldier returns

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2003

Wednesday afternoon, Cheri Jenkins made a yellow bow out of a tablecloth to put on her front porch.

This bow will remain on the front porch until her stepson Jared comes home and removes it himself.

"I'm going to give him a big hug and a kiss first," she said.

Email newsletter signup

Last Thursday, U.S. Army Specialist Jared Jenkins, 22, called his father Glen in Ironton from a cell phone en route from Germany to Iraq with the 1st Armored Division, 36th Infantry. The 1999 graduate of Rock Hill High School has went from working at Pizza Hut at age 16 to being up for an E-5 position, Glen Jenkins said.

According to members of his family, Jared Jenkins has an infectious, outgoing personality.

"He can sleep with the hound dogs or eat caviar with rich people," Glen Jenkins said. "He's popular. When he's home, this place is like Grand Central Station, with the phone ringing all the time."

"I just think of him running around on his moped or shining up on his cars and trucks."

"People I don't know come up to me and ask me about Jared," his older sister Tabitha Kidd said.

"I'll tell you what, he sure is good looking," Cheri Jenkins laughed.

Glen Jenkins once served in the U.S. Navy, and when his son told him about his plans to join the Army, his father was supportive because he believed it was a good choice that would give Jared the chance to grow up.

"Of course, that was before I knew there was going to be a war going on," he said. "I wish all the killing and violence would stop so our boys could come back home. I've just lived in front of the television set."

"I'm awful proud, but I'm worried too."

Cheri Jenkins is trying to stay away from the television set.

"I don't try to think about it," she said. "I watch it sometimes, but I don't like to keep watching. I am praying for all the innocent. It's so sad when innocent people get killed. It's a really sad situation."

"I don't know if we're doing the right thing over there," Glen Jenkins said. "We need to support our kids over there and hope they help the people over there. I wouldn't want to be in the position where I would be making decisions. I hope this is solved in the most peaceful way, so we they can have peace and we can have peace as well. May God have mercy on all of them. I hope this is over with, so everyone can come home safely."

Even though serving his country has risks, Jared Jenkins is ready.

"He wants to go and see the faces on those little kids when they're liberated," Glen Jenkins said.

Besides his father, stepmother, his mother in Seattle, Wash., and his older brother and sister, one person that especially misses Jared is his 9-year-old brother Jonathan. According to the Jenkins family, Jonathan is the spitting image of his older brother.

"Jonathan changed his name to Jared at school," Cheri Jenkins said, holding a picture of the two saluting at Jared's boot camp graduation. "That's what everyone calls him. He even dances like Jared. He told Jared, 'Just you wait, when you get home, I'm going to beat you at Nintendo!'"

Sarah Kidd, Jared Jenkins's 3-and-a-half-year-old niece, has her uncle on her mind when she goes to bed every night.

"When she says her prayers, she always says, 'Keep Uncle Jared' safe," Tabitha Kidd said.

Even though the thought of Jared serving in a war-torn country is frightening for members of his family, they said the military has made him a more mature person.

"He went from a boy to a man," Glen Jenkins said.

However, this has still not changed his bubbly personality.

"He's still a cut-up, but he's serious as well," Cheri Jenkins said.

Until they all return home, Jared Jenkins and other members of his division have benefited from the generosity of his family and church. The Hanging Rock Apostolic Church of God, where Glen Jenkins is a minister, sent them prayer cloths and his "Memaw and Papaw", Jane and Harrison Jenkins sent Jared a chocolate cake that Cheri Jenkins is sure the soldiers ate up.

The family has received several phone calls, requesting Jared Jenkins's mailing address. The address is Spc. Jared T. Jenkins, HHC 136 INF CMR 453, Box 2014, APO/AE/09074.

"When they leave, you just squall," Cheri Jenkins said. "It hurts when they go back."

"I always say that I love him bunches, bunches, bunches, and bunches more."