Mom Left Speechless After Learning Truth About Veteran Son’s Gravesite

Photo Credit: AGUSTIN PAULLIER / AFP / Getty Images
Photo Credit: AGUSTIN PAULLIER / AFP / Getty Images

After their son, US Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Villasenor, died in a car accident, Rachel and Raymond Villasenor were shocked when they noticed something strange happening to the grass over his grave. They eventually discovered what was going on and were touched by the kindness of a complete stranger.

Joseph Villasenor was on his way to a softball game

Joseph Villasenor was a staff sergeant in the Air Force. He’d enlisted in 1994 and served 16 years. Along with being an accomplished member of the US military, Villasenor was also a skilled softball pitcher. In fact, he was so good that he was selected to pitch for the softball league at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.

On his way to a softball game in 2010, Villasenor was involved in a fatal car crash. His parents were devastated, with Rachel saying of her son during an interview, “He was a good kid, he loved children, he was really caring with other people.” He was buried at Garden Park Cemetery in Conroe, Texas. Despite living three hours away in Arlington, his parents made a point of visiting him as much as possible.

Jake Reissig visits his wife every day

Tree standing among rows of gravestones at Houston National Cemetery
Photo Credit: Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Jake Reissig was a regular visitor to Garden Park Cemetery, as his wife, Betty, is buried there. The pair shared 65 years of marriage and, following her passing in 2014, he visited her gravesite daily as part of his routine. While Betty was alive, he used to bring her one red rose – her favorite flower – every day. When she passed, he continued to do so, placing one on her gravestone during each visit.

Texas experiences a serious drought

Dried-up pond in the middle of a farmer's field
Photo Credit: Sergio Flores / Bloomberg / Getty Images

During the summer, a severe drought struck Texas, causing the grass to dry up and become brown and brittle. This included the patch over Betty’s plot at Garden Park Cemetery. Jake decided that, along with his daily rose delivery, he would start watering the grass around his wife’s grave, to keep it green and healthy.

Taking the cemetery’s hose, he watered the grass twice a day. Sure enough, it returned to being bright, green and vibrant. This was a stark difference from the brown, brittle grass of the neighboring plots.

Joseph Villasenor’s parents were shocked by what they saw

US Air Force airmen placing American flags on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery
Photo Credit: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

When Joseph Villasenor’s parents went to visit his grave, they noticed the grass over his plot was green and healthy. This was a shock to them, considering they weren’t able to visit him every day and maintain the site.

At first, Rachel and Raymond thought the morning dew was the source, but they quickly realized that wasn’t possible, as the entire cemetery would have healthy grass if that was the case. They also wondered if it was a gift from above, but they soon learned exactly why the grass over their son’s grave was so vibrant.

Jake was watering Joseph Villasenor’s grass, too

Hand maneuvering a watering hose
Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels / Free to Use

After seeing a young woman crying over a gravestone near Betty’s, Jake went over to see who she’d been grieving for. He saw the grave belonged to a young staff sergeant from the Air Force named Joseph. That day, he decided he was going to water his plot of grass as well, saying, “It was the least I could do for him, you know.”

When Rachel went to visit her son’s grave, she noticed a stranger watering the grass. When she approached him, she introduced herself and became very emotional. She thanked Jake for his kindness and the two hugged. “It was just incredible to know that a stranger would take that much time and care for our son who he didn’t even know,” she later said.

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Jake’s children said they weren’t shocked after hearing what their father had been doing. “He’s a giving person,” shared his son, Roger. “The way dad treated mom and all of us – it’s not a surprise.” Sadly, Jake, too, passed away a few years later, at the age of 90. He was buried beside his wife at Garden Park Cemetery.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!