Flags in Reynoldsburg have been flying at half-staff since Monday in honor of U.S. Army Sgt. Titus R. Reynolds. He was killed in Afghanistan Sept. 24 when the vehicle he was riding in struck a roadside bomb.

Flags in Reynoldsburg have been flying at half-staff since Monday in honor of U.S. Army Sgt. Titus R. Reynolds. He was killed in Afghanistan Sept. 24 when the vehicle he was riding in struck a roadside bomb.

Reynolds, 23, was a 2005 Reynoldsburg High School graduate who was due to celebrate his first wedding anniversary with wife Nikki on Oct. 12.

He is survived by his mother, Elizabeth; father, Rod; brothers, John and Mark; and sister, Rachel.

At ThisWeek's press time on Tuesday, Elizabeth Reynolds said the Department of Defense had not yet released her son's body and the family wasn't sure when that would happen.

She said Titus was in the Fifth Stryker Brigade combat team, 2nd Infantry Division based in Fort Lewis, Wash. He had been promoted to sergeant in June and was near the end of a four-year term in the Army before he was deployed on July 15 to Omar Zai, Afghanistan.

Titus was very involved in Nazarene churches in both Reynoldsburg and Pickerington, she said. Besides being a talented musician who played acoustic, electric and bass guitars, his mother said he was also very involved in his church's youth group.

"He was a fun kid and he did his wild kid stuff but he grew up to be such a great man," she said. "He loved doing things for people and he loved people."

The Reynolds family has lived on Manor Drive in Columbus for 18 years. Neighbors Kerrie and Paul Patton have known them for the past seven years.

Kerrie Patton said Titus was well-liked and used to arrange basketball and soccer games for the younger kids in the neighborhood.

"When we moved here, he was in high school," she recalled. "He was a nice boy and he helped neighbors out with groceries and that sort of thing."

She said her husband, Paul, has been contacting area businesses to see if they will fly their flags at half-staff in Titus' honor.

"Everybody's been pretty compliant so far," Paul Patton said. "A lot of places are putting their flags down for him, and as far as we're concerned, we want to make sure he is remembered."

A utility pole located between the two homes has been decorated by people in the neighborhood with pictures and memorabilia in Titus' honor, Kerrie Patton said.

"He was a great kid. The entire family is a great family and they'd do anything for you," Paul Patton said. "It's sad he had to go at such an early age, but he knew the risk and he accepted it willingly. I don't know of a single person in this entire world that had anything negative to say about him whatsoever."

His mother said Titus chose to join the Army knowing exactly what he was doing.

"He wanted to fight terrorism and protect the country. That was very, very important to him. And he had his brothers and his sister and wife and that was very important to him," she said.

Elizabeth Reynolds said the family has seen an outpouring of support from the community and wanted thank everyone for their caring condolences and for leaving flowers at their home.

"He deserves to be honored because he was fighting for everybody here," she said of her son. "He just wanted to keep us safe, so it's great to see the people come out and say, 'thank you for your sacrifice.'"

Mayor Brad McCloud said city flags were set at half-staff on Monday morning in honor of Reynolds.

"It's a tragedy. He died a hero, and it's obviously a very difficult time for his family, but his efforts should not go unrecognized," McCloud said.

Reynoldsburg High School art teacher Thomie Timmons said a stone marker in honor of Reynolds will be placed at the high school's Fallen Veterans Memorial site, although a date for the ceremony has not yet been scheduled.

Reynolds was the third central Ohio soldier to die in the past three weeks.

Army Staff Sgt. Shannon M. Smith, 31, of Marion, and Spec. Zachary T. Myers, 21, of Delaware, were killed with another soldier on Sept. 8 when their armored vehicle was hit by an explosive in Baji, Iraq.

dowen@thisweeknews.com