“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.”