Susan "Sue" Owen '94 July 30, 2018 1:51 PM updated: August 28, 2018 5:19 PM
Even after she retired in 2015, Reveille VIII got special care from her last mascot corporal — the cadet who famously saved her at a 2014 football game by blocking an SMU player rushing toward her on the sideline.
Ryan Kreider '17 came to visit her often at the Texas A&M center where she lived a relaxed life, and even picked her up at Thanksgiving and Christmas to spend holidays with his family.
“She still had that queen-like presence about her,” Kreider said.
Texas A&M included Kreider in the planning for her memorial and funeral, and he said he’ll be able to attend in person as well. He now works as an account manager for an information technology staffing and consulting firm in Irving. As the 2014-15 mascot corporal during his sophomore year in the Corps of Cadets' Company E-2, Kreider was responsible for Miss Rev on a daily basis.
Hundreds of Aggies got chances to take photos with Reveille VIII while she was under Kreider's care.
After representing Texas A&M from 2008 to 2015, Reveille VIII truly got to enjoy her retirement, Kreider said. “She was pampered. She had free run of the facility," which is a part of A&M's veterinary school known as the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center. It's a home-like environment where other pets and several veterinary students live around the clock.
“The Stevenson Center, that whole arrangement was wonderful. It was a great situation for her; they took great care of her.”
When Rev 8 first came to the center, he said, “They had a llama named Rusty, and whenever they let Rev out back, she loved to run and bark along the fence in between them.”
She also attended some events with her old outfit, E-2. “The outfit would be able to take her out for the day and bring
her over to campus, like for dinner,” he said. She even attended a birthday party for Reveille IX
It was great having her “right across the road,” Kreider said. “Whenever I visited, she was always jumping up and very excited to see me."
Their connection didn't stop with his graduation. His parents live in College Station, and he said, “Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I got to take her home with the family.”
“We kind of had that special bond,” he said.
“I was actually in College Station the weekend that she passed. My mother and I got to spend some time with her that Saturday night.” It was tough, he said. But “We had a good run. I’m so fortunate and honored to have had that opportunity.”
Of his 2014 sideline save, Kreider said he's just glad he did his job, noting the consequences if he hadn't: "It would have made headlines either way," he observed.
“It’s hard to remember the actual block. It happened so fast, and it was just a reaction.” E-2 always has three cadets with Reveille on game days, he said, and “We didn’t think it was that big a deal… then we went in at halftime and saw it was trending on Twitter.” Sports networks picked up and replayed the moment. “The week after,” he said, “I have never been in so many interviews.” That was probably his peak of national fame, he said with a laugh. But it was definitely a positive media moment for A&M.
“I think it echoes just what being an Aggie is about, that instant response of serving,” Kreider said.
Read more: How past Reveilles have been laid to rest.
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