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Diego Rincon Freedom Scholarship winner
Avery-Reagan---winner-of-Diego-Rincon-Scholarshp-by-the-Rehorn-Group-IMG 5851
(Left to right) Commissioner JaNice Van Ness, Avery Reagan, Superintendent Richard Autry and Rockdale school board Chairman Jim McBrayer - photo by Michelle Kim

Salem High School graduate Avery Reagan was recently awarded the 2013 Diego Rincon Freedom Scholarship of $5,000 from the Rehorn Family Foundation.

This was the first year the scholarship, created in memory of Salem student and fallen soldier Diego Rincon, was opened to students from all three Rockdale public high schools. Coordinator Shelli Siebert said the foundation received 47 applications and Reagan’s application stood out to the judges.

“She was an all-around great student and did a lot of things that made us feel strongly,” Siebert said. “Her great-grandfather was part of WWII. She has often heard stories from him about Iwo Jima.” 

At the Memorial Day celebration at the Walk of Heroes Veterans Memorial, Rehorn Family Foundation chair Roger Rehorn described why his family began giving Diego Rincon scholarship nine years ago. Rincon was a Class of 2000 Salem graduate who was one of four soldiers killed by a car bomb on March 23, 2003, while manning a checkpoint in Najaf, Iraq. The bomb was set off by a motorist who had pulled off to the side and seemed to need help. 

Rincon’s mother told the AJC back in 2003 that it was characteristic of Rincon to try to help someone in need. He was undocumented and his family had immigrated from Columbia in 1989 to escape the drug war violence. "I haven't seen the Rincon family in a couple years. I didn't know them. But I know a patriot when I see one," Rehorn said, "and Diego Rincon was a true American patriot."