United States Army Specialist Jerome Rillera was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up living in many states across the country including New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida. As a child Rillera developed a passion for golf and art. He had close relationships with his mother and father, James Rillera, who was a World War II veteran.
Rillera was initially drafted into the US Army but ultimately enlisted of his own volition on November 23rd, 1972. He served in Signal Corp and loved taking pictures and working with anything photography related. He even earned Soldier of the Month for his outstanding acts of service. After his military service, Rillera attended college from 1992 to 1996, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
During combat in Vietnam, Rillera came into contact with Agent Orange, a tactical herbicide used by the U.S. military for control of vegetation. As a result Rillera suffered from PTSD, vision loss, and hearing damage. His recovery process was very long and lonely, and made more difficult by the loss of his beloved wife in 2011.
Rillera currently resides in Whitestown, Indiana where he passes the time by playing golf and mentoring at Veterans Court. Rillera is a proud veteran and says that, “It was an honor to serve.”