Approximately 50 students competed across Rockdale County for the 2015 scholarship. The Rehorn Foundation created this scholarship ($5K) to honor the memory of 19-year-old, Diego Rincon, a 2001 Salem High School graduate, who lost his life in 2003 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 3rd Infantry Division.
A native of Columbia, Diego and his family immigrated to the U.S. to escape the drug cartel violence that ravaged their country. As a little boy, growing up in Conyers, Georgia, Diego took advantage of everything his new adopted country had to offer. While attending Salem HS, he excelled in academics, sports and drama. The aftermath of September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, Diego informed his parents, he was joining the military to fight for his adopted country. Through this scholarship, we hope to honor the memory of Diego Rincon and all American soldiers who paid the ultimate price for freedom. May God Bless PFC Diego Rincon, his family and all American Soldiers.
The “Diego Rincon Memorial Scholarship” is open to all Rockdale County graduating seniors who will be attending an accredited University, College, Technical School, or will become a member of the Arm Forces after graduation. Interested applicants must complete a one-page essay on “What Freedom Means to Me”. A committee will judge each essay on originality and their ability to express what it means to live in a free country.
The following is Diego last letter written to his mother before his unit left Kuwait.
“A Last Letter Home”
Feb. 22, 2003
How are you doing? Good I hope. I’m doing OK I guess. I won’t be able to write anymore starting the 28th of this month. We are moving out. We are already packed and ready to move to a tactical Alpha-Alpha (in Iraq). Once that happens, there will not be any mail sent out. We will only receive mail that is less than 12 ounces. At least that’s what they said. I’m not sure where exactly we’re going to be at yet, but it is said to be a 20-hour drive in the Bradleys.
So I guess the time has finally come for us to see what we are made of, who will crack when the stress level rises and who will be calm all the way through it. Only time will tell. We are at the peak of our training and it’s time to put it to the test.
I just want to tell everybody how much you all mean to me and how much I love you all. Mother, I love you so much! I’m not going to give up! I’m living my life one day at a time, sitting here picturing home with a small tear in my eyes, spending time with my brothers who will hold my life in their hands.
I try not to think of what may happen in the future, but I can’t stand seeing it in my eyes. There’s going to be murders, funerals, and tears rolling down everybody’s eyes. But the only thing I can say is: keep my head up and try to keep the faith and pray for better days. All this will pass. I believe God has a path for me. Whether I make it or not, it’s all part of the plan. It can’t be changed, only completed.
Mother will be the last word I’ll say. Your face will be the last picture that goes through my eyes. I’m not trying to scare you, but it’s reality. The time is here to see the plan laid out. And hopefully, I’ll be at home in it. I don’t know what I’m talking about or why I’m writing it down. Maybe I just want someone to know what goes through my head. It’s probably good not keeping it all inside.
I just hope that you’re proud of what I’m doing and have faith in my decisions. I will try hard and not give up. I just want to say sorry for anything I have ever done wrong. And I’m doing it all for you, mom. I love you.
P.S. Very Important Document.