"I believe that not all heroes die a hero’s death - but all heroes live a hero's life."

“From the moment he was brought into this world, my son captured our hearts with his smile and his amazing eyes. While he was born in a small rural town in Illinois, he grew up along the Mississippi River in Iowa. He loved sports - wrestling and baseball being two of his favorites - and he was always a ‘tinkerer’. He was forever taking things apart, figuring out how they worked, and putting them back together again.

One of the qualities I loved most about him though was that he absolutely adored his friends, and was always doing something to bring them joy, make them laugh, or just help them out. The moment he got his license, he went out and bought an S10 pickup truck that, according to his friends, is a part of many happy memories from their high school years. He would often leave the house early on school days and drive around to his friend’s houses picking them up, so they wouldn't have to take the long bus ride into school.

He joined the army just a few days after turning 18. Even then, he knew what he wanted to do and just went out and did it. He was a very confident and “Awesome” young man, and he proved it time and time again in his personal life, with his battle buddies, and even with our pets.

I believe that not all heroes die a hero’s death - but all heroes live a hero's life. My son made it his life’s goal to always make sure everyone in his life knew they could count on him. I never got the chance to really get to know my son as an adult - he left home for the Army 5 months after his birthday, had his basic training at FT. Knox, and then came straight to FT. Hood. He was only able to come home a handful of times during his six years in the service.

Despite this, I know the most fundamental things about him never changed: he loved his family, his country, his friends, his animals, and most of all he loved life. Wherever he was, the joy of laughter always surrounded him.

Operation Phantom Support and every other business or organization that supports what they’re doing are testimonies to continuing to honor my son, and all he stood for. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for contributing to my son’s legacy.



Our mission is to continue living SGT. Ritter's legacy: to be there and support our friends, family, and community when they need it.

We achieve this by partnering with Operation Phantom Support, a 501 {C} {3} non-profit serving Active Duty, Honorable Veterans, First Responders, and their families.

Learn more about their mission and day-to-day operations below.