Press Center
Humboldt General Hospital Announces 2016 Childbirth Education Schedule
Jeremy Hurst, FNP-C, Now Offering Cosmetic Laser Services
Humboldt Printers, Humboldt General Join to Spread Christmas Cheer
HGH EMS Rescue Invites Area Kids to 'Cookies with Santa' Event
HGH Says Goodbye to Retiring Respiratory Manager
Key Club Makes Welcome Donation to Emergency Department Children
HGH EMS Rescue to "Stuff" Ambulance with Toys for Needy Children
Turkey Trotters Invited to Raise Alzheimer's Awareness During Fun Run
Poke & Peek Thrift Shop to Host Christmas Open House
Humboldt General Hospital Celebrates National Diabetes Month
Area Youngsters Invited to 'Trick or Treat' at Humboldt General Hospital
LaRena's Race Invites Community to Help 'Spook Cancer'
Local Community Invited to HGH AirOne 'Open House' Saturday
HGH EMS Rescue Offering In-Home Flu Shots
Pam Ruark Leaves Legacy of Caring at Humboldt General Hospital
Humboldt General Hospital EMS to Present 2015 'Refresher'
Support Group Will Host Diabetes Friendly Recipe Exchange
HGH EMS Captain Leads Fight Against Staggering Suicide Rates
U.S. Honor Flag Finds Very Special Connection with HGH Staff Member
'Healthy You' Presentation Will Discuss Prescription Drug Abuse
Hospital Board Approves New Infant Security System
Community Invited to Town Hall Discussion of Dementia and Driving
Ashley Sage New Head of HGH Surgical Department
Humboldt General Awarded Certificate of Need for Construction
Radiology Manager Wickkiser Will Leave HGH for CEO Position
'Healthy You' Presentation Will Discuss Quick and Healthy Cooking
Ortho Clinic Success Comes From Filling Local Residents' Needs
Walk-In Clinic Announces New Hours
Lucero Takes Over as HGH Wellness Coordinator
Sperry Embraces New Patient Relations Position
Hospital CEO Named 'Rural Health Fellow' for 2015
HGH Welcomes New Resident, Opens Family Medicine Residency Clinic
Humboldt General to Offer Free Sports Physicals to Area Youth
HGH EMS Rescue Will Offer EMT Course
'Healthy You' Presentation to Discuss Health and Hydration
HGH EMS, Lowry High Partner to Present Anti-Alcohol Program
'Fit Kids' Summer Program Designed to Get Kids Moving
HGH EMS Will Mark 'EMS Week' With Community Celebration
"Healthy You" Presentation Will Review Popular Diets
Bertha Higbee Named 2015 HGH "Nightingale Nurse of the Year"
Humboldt General Honors Employees for Years of Service
LaRena's Race May 9 at French Ford Middle School
Diabetes Support Group to Focus on Exercise
HGH EMS Rescue Says Burning Man Lessons Will Be Invaluable Moving Forward
High School Sophomore Saves Life of Teenage Girl
Alzheimer's Disease Workshop to Discuss Signs, Music, Trial Matches
Diane Klassen Achieves Advanced Vascular Ultrasound Registry
HGH Employees Wear Jeans in Support of Sexual Assault Awareness
Bariatric Support Group Helps Those on Weight-Loss Journey
State, Humboldt General Partner to Host Tabletop Ebola Exercise
Dr. Cody Bengoa Will Discuss Eye Health With Diabetes Support Group
Humboldt General Hospital Honors Top Employees
CNA Schirrick Nominated for Nationwide Scholarship Award
Annual Community Health Fair Scheduled for Saturday, March 14
Diabetes Support Group to Focus on Healthy Lifestyle
Bariatric Support Group Can Help Those Considering Weight-Reduction Surgery
HGH EMS Rescue Leads Decon Efforts at Junior High School
Hospital Announces Online Health Information Access Via Patient Portal
Jennifer Hood, LMFT, New Facilitator of Grief Relief Support Group
Humboldt General Hospital Employees Elect New Committee Officers
Hospital Seeks to Raise Awareness of Women's Heart Disease
Diabetes Support Group Discussion to Focus on Heart Health
Bariatric Support Group Kicks Off New Year with New Leader
Humboldt General Hospital Announces 2015 Childbirth Education Schedule
Longtime OB Manager Retires from Humboldt General Hospital
Local Nurse Practitioner Opens New Practice at Humboldt General Hospital
Humboldt County's First Baby of the New Year Born at HGH

Article Sections

Contact Us Print this Page Change Font Size
Press Center > News > 2015 > U.S. Honor Flag Finds Very Special Connection with HGH Staff Member

U.S. Honor Flag Finds Very Special Connection with HGH Staff Member

Eight years ago, Sergeant Christopher Reyka was killed in the line of duty in Broward County, Florida.

At his funeral, a special flag—now known as the U.S. Honor Flag—made its way to South Florida to honor the fallen officer.

Since then, the U.S. Honor Flag has memorialized fallen American heroes aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis, over Ground Zero, in state capitols, at the Pentagon, in presidential libraries, at state and national memorials, and at many funerals and tributes, including the recent memorial of fallen Carson City deputy Carl Howell on Thursday, August 20.

Over the years, it has logged over seven million miles honoring thousands of fallen police officers, firefighters, first responders and those serving on active combat duty in the military.

Sunday, August 2, the flag was traveling from Texas to California where it would honor yet another fallen peace officer. As the security detail traveling with the flag neared Humboldt County, they called dispatch asking for additional escorts.

Dispatchers called Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Captain Kevin Malone, who immediately sent two units to escort the group from Button Point to the Humboldt County Detention Center.

At the facility, Honor Flag officers showed local officers the flag, which travels in a 125-pound vault and has six microchips embedded in its fabric; the microchips can track the flag’s location from anywhere in the world.

The Honor Flag contingent also briefed officers on the flag’s beginnings and its significance to the nation.

As the men relayed their information, Captain Malone said a name caught his attention. One of the officers had mentioned that the first Honor Flag commemoration happened at the funeral of a Sergeant Christopher Reyka in Florida.

Captain Malone said, “I thought no way, that is not a popular name.”

He told the officers that one of his good friends was a local man named Mark Reyka and that Mark had told him that his brother had been killed in the line of duty in Florida.

The officers called some of their contacts and, after a few minutes, confirmed that Christopher Reyka’s brother was Mark Reyka, a resident of Humboldt County and a nurse anesthetist at Humboldt General Hospital.

So Captain Malone made a very special phone call. “Can you come meet me?” he asked Mark, “I have something to show you.”

Within minutes, Mark Reyka arrived at the detention center where the Honor Flag officers kindly showed him the flag and then gifted him two pairs of USHF white gloves—special commemorative gloves that handle the flag at each memorial service and are then given to family members of the deceased.

Because Christopher Reyka’s funeral was the first to receive the honor flag, Mark Reyka and his family had never received the gloves, as they were not part of the ceremony at that time. One pair of the gloves will stay with Reyka, while the second pair will go to Christopher’s widow in Florida.

“I was totally blown way,” said Reyka of his reaction to Captain Malone’s phone call. “If Kevin had not opened his mouth, this never would have come together. I can’t tell you how indebted I am to Kevin Malone.”

Reyka added, “And I give the Lord his credit, too. This has his fingerprints all over it.”

Honor Flag officials were touched by the reunion of the flag with the brother of its first honoree.

Chris Heisler who heads up “The Honor Network,” the group that schedules the flag to travel to its various destinations, said, “That is such an amazing story; we are so honored to have been able to make a connection with Mark Reyka.”

Humboldt General Hospital made a donation to the U.S. Honor Flag in honor of Sergeant Christopher Reyka to help bring the flag to Reno last month where it would honor Carl Howell.

Mark Reyka, who has now had a few weeks to process his encounter, said, “I’m still just taking it all in. It’s been a very emotional thing for me.”

Then he joked, “For once, I am grateful for having such an unusual name.”

Related Articles