Condolences: Fair Haven Mourns Hometown Hero Jamie Riley, 21

Tragedy has struck the Fair Haven community. A 21-year-old member of the longtime Fair Haven Riley family has been killed in an accident while serving as a calvary scout in the U.S. Army.

“Hearts are broken in Fair Haven as we mourn the tragic loss of one of our hometown heroes, U.S. Army Pvt. First Class (Pfc.) Jamie Riley. Keep his family, friends and fellow soldiers in your thoughts and prayers, including FHFD life member/ex-chief (grandfather) John Riley Sr. and ex-chief (uncle) John Riley Jr. God bless and thank you Jamie for serving your country.”

Fair Haven Fire Department

Riley, a 2011 Knollwood School graduate and 2015 Red Bank Catholic High School (RBC) grad, was serving as a calvary scout in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Bliss, TX. Fort Bliss officials released Riley’s name and that of the other soldier killed in the Tuesday training (Stryker) vehicle collision on U.S. Route 54 in Otero County, Texas, near (and onto) McGregor Range, NM. The other solider was Cpl. Cole Trevor Wixom, 24, according to an Army release.

Jamie Riley joined the Army a year ago, in January of 2018.

Jamie Riley on Knollwood School Wall of Honor

The U.S. Army released the following statement:

“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we announce the unfortunate loss of two of our Ready First Soldiers and injuries to several others in a tragic event that occurred Tuesday evening. We honor them by remembering their selfless service to the U.S. Army and the nation.  Our sincere condolences go to the families of Cpl. Wixom, Pfc. Riley and their Ready First teammates.”

The accident is under investigation. A cause has not yet been ruled or released.

As the news hit Jamie’s hometown, messages of condolence and remembrance flooded social media:

“My heart goes out to this wonderful family. Jamie was an exceptionally beautiful soul. RIP,” said Fair Haven Schools Business Administrator Valery Petrone.

“I remember from my substitute days…a respectful young man with a smile that could light up a room. So sad,” said Maria Chiaravella Maita.

“My heart just broke when I read this today,” said longtime Fair Havenite Paul Hodgkins. “Everyone who knew him will tell you how nice he was. My prayers and condolences to all his family.”

“I can’t believe this,” said Mary Ellen Maas. “I watched Jamie and Cassie grow up. Cassie babysat for us for years. Those two are some of the best kids I’ve ever known. What a loss. My heartfelt sympathy for the Riley family.”

“Jamie was one of the sweetest and kindest and thoughtful kids in that Knollwood class of 2011,” said Fair Haven Fire Department/First Aid member Katy Badt Frissora. “Loved by all. Loyal and dedicated and patriotic.  

“I am heartbroken for his family and his friends and his fellow soldiers. What a loss. What an honor to have been able to watch him grow into such an amazing young man.” 

RIP, Jamie. You are remembered.

We, at R-FH Retro, longtime friends of the Riley family, extend our sincerest condolences. We are so terribly sorry for your loss, Rileys, and we thank you for your service to and love of Fair Haven and thank Jamie for his love of and service to his home and his country.