Making an Impact



Leading the Yontz Valor Foundation, I am moved by the actions of those organizations receiving our donations and their expressions of gratitude.
I chose to write about a few of these so that you can feel the emotions of those that the YVF has touched and see firsthand how my Father’s legacy is coming to life.

Terri Yontz Miller – President/Trustee

“Our donation of $50k gave 10 children and spouses of our fallen Veterans the gift of education. They each received scholarship funding to pursue educational goals from Folds of Honor. This is even more special knowing how important education was to our founder and how dearly he wanted these children to be watched over.”

“The $15k donation from Yontz Valor Foundation made it  possible to provide FREE dental care to 15 Veterans in need that were unemployed, uninsured and financially indigent that needed critical dental care. Some of our patient Veterans lost their ability to SMILE over 10 years ago. They have also suffered many physical diseases such as heart disease etc. as a result of poor dental care.”

“Sparta helps to transform the stress and trauma caused by war and violence into resiliency, empowerment, and individual greatness. Our donation of $25k allowed Sparta to put together a Cohort of 12 all female Veterans and First Responders to address PTSD and suicidal thoughts. This intense 5 day program is often their last hope.”

“Mans best friend” has never been a more powerful truth than when you look at what Vet Service Dogs is doing for our disabled military men and women. Based in Illinois, this organization had the passion and talent to give companionship and hope to Veterans. What they needed was improved space to adequately train and house these special dogs. YVF donation of $20k enhanced their training facility so they can continue this wonderful gift of “mans best friend.”

“With $20k from YVF, Healing Warriors was able to improve treatment equipment for our heroes who deal with pain, PTSD, and sleep issues. They were also able to seek handicap accessible facilities, which is critical. This non-opioid treatment has shown promising results for many where other methods failed.”

“Homelessness is a chronic problem facing many Veterans in our country. Sadly, there is not one solution but every effort matters. With $10k from YVF, Room in The Inn was able to provide “Welcome Home” baskets for homeless Veterans transitioning to temporary and permanent housing on the Room in the Inn Campus in TN.

“As we set out to make a difference with YVF, it was critically important that we give money to organizations who assure us that the real men on women of our military will directly benefit. I am learning every day the different therapies that truly can make a difference in our Veteran’s lives going one way or unfortunately the other. So many talented therapists at Wave Academy posses the power of healing and bringing peace. Nothing is more compelling than receiving these personal notes from soldiers whose lives we have touched and whose souls we have hopefully started to help heal so their lives can move forward.”

“For those of us not in the military – we can never know the hardships of returning to civilian life. The things we do on a daily basis, well, are just a lot more difficult. Socialization and the feeing of belonging again becomes a challenge to many, That’s why foundation such as Hendrickson Foundation who focus on bring our Veterans together via Warriors Hockey is so important. As a second year donor we hare watching our heroes come to life on the ice, feeling part of regular life again and meeting emotional and physical challenges head-on. In honor of my Dad, this years Championship Trophy will bear the YVF logo and be presented to the winning team – though seeing this in action – they are all winners.”

“The selfless sacrifices that our Veterans make for our country can never be measured – they are priceless. Those who pay the ultimate sacrifice are hailed as heroes – but left in the wake are the families that are left behind. Especially gut wrenching is the pain and sorrow buried in a child’s heart after loosing their Mother or Father in active duty or other issues like PTSD. Helping a child to heal so that their life can move forward is something that Camp Hometown Heroes brings to those broken hearts. Having been a supporter over the last three years, I had tears when I received a special letter from Deb Paschke, Executive Director of Camp Hometown Heroes. My Dad would be so proud as nothing was more precious to him than the innocence of children”


“One might imagine that after an individual serves their country – their focus might turn away from that and focus strictly on civilian life. Not true of so many of our patriotic men and woman of our military. I was speaking at a Tee it Up for the Troops event on September 11th of this year and I met many special Veterans. One in particular stood out – a WWII Veteran representing the Color Guard of the American Legion post #1776. What moved me is how hard he worked to volunteer all these years later – far past when duty called, It’s not because he had to – it was in his heart to honor his fellow comrades as they passed on to their final resting place. I received a 4 page handwritten letter from him telling me how much it meant that someone like my Father would choose to leave such a legacy, even though he himself did not serve in our military. He loved my speech and the story of my Dad’s compassion and giving spirit and his vision for YVF. So much so, he enclosed a handful of stamps from his collection from when he served as a token of his gratitude. I was blown away! First no one writes letters anymore and the emotion in the letter was so incredible. We did go on to aid Post #1776 at the American Legion so that their equipment was repaired and properly stored for all the funerals where they would volunteer their time. This letter represents so much to me and I will keep it in my heart. This Veteran’s name was Mendal Mearkle and I can assure you – he and my Dad would have talked for hours.”

“The very first organization YVF supported was Take a Vet Fishing. I was introduced to this organization by the CEO of Great Clips as she believed in everything they stood for and most importantly – they took action and made things happen. Fishing? Who knew how a pastime many take for granted could be such a powerful unifying and healing program for our Veteran’s. I surely did not – until I met the founder Jay Garstecki. His passion, vision and unwavering commitment left a mark. In fact, in 2015 my Dad attended the TAVF event at Lake Minnetonka with me. I will never forget that day for many reasons. First, my Dad was blown away not only by the event, but his connection with Jay was immediate and unwavering. He saw what I saw in him. In fact as we were leaving he said Terri, that “Jay is something special…and this is exactly the type of organization I want to support.” He could see the direct impact of our donation with the 200 Veterans in attendance. He was truly moved by what he saw and could begin to imagine what YVF could really accomplish.

Our plans to attend together in 2016 fell short as my Dad battled for his life. I will never forget Jay leading the Veterans in prayer for my Dad as they all stood with bowed heads as they remembered his presence and generosity the previous year. In 2017 Jay and his board voted to rename the event in Lake Minnetonka the Ken Yontz Take a Vet Fishing Event. I spoke from the heart about my Dad and my 16 year old son Wyatt spoke of his Grandfather and his love for him. We were presented with a special flag from a fallen soldier bearing an engraved plaque in memory of my Father. I felt my Dad with us that day just as how we felt with Jay and Take a Vet Fishing in 2014. We had come full circle. As I looked out at my Dad’s memorial service and saw Jay’s face, I know that we would carry my Dad forward through Yontz Valor Foundation.”

In each year’s report, I will choose several special stories and share my perspective with you  as they demonstrate the vision, passion and most importantly the giving soul that was indeed my Father.

Love, Terri

Organizations We’ve Supported