Spotlight Stories

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

We are honored to help many successful organizations who truly care. We love to share a few unique stories of leaders, organizations, or special experiences as Yontz Valor Foundation is so proud of everything these organizations do for our veterans.

Terri Yontz Miller – President/Trustee

Operation Fishing Freedom

operationfishingfreedom.com

Opal Waldman

“I was first told of Opal Waldman while attending a chamber of commerce luncheon in my hometown of Bartlett, IL. As I spoke to the group of business owners regarding our new television show – Operation Fishing Freedom – I asked if anyone knew of a Veteran who would be willing to document their lives with us. I immediately was told about “Opal Waldman” a 94 year “young” WWII Veteran who worked at our local Senior Center in town…

On my way home from that luncheon, I drove straight to the Senior Center and found one of the most beautiful 94 year old women I’ve ever met – greeting me at the reception desk with a smile. Just a few short months later, we honored Opal’s lifetime achievements by documenting them on our TV Show. That was the beginning of a friendship that would leave a mark on my heart forever…

There weren’t many weeks that would pass – that I wouldn’t go to the Senior Center to visit Opal “working”. She would “show me off” to her friends at the senior center and tell them “I made her famous”. She was SO PROUD of that episode! Rightfully so!

I’ll never forget the story of Opal telling her granddaughter that she needed to take her to the Bartlett 4th of July Parade because I was going to be in it with the Take a Vet Fishing truck and boat. It was 104 degrees that day – and the family was concerned about her sitting outside for that long in the heat. Opal’s exact words were… “If you won’t take me, I will drive myself!” – Not being there wasn’t even an option for Opal!

Just a few short months ago, we lost one of this country’s most cherished heroes. Opal served our country when many women weren’t involved in the military. Opal felt it was her “civic duty” to assist the MANY soldiers who were defending our freedom. I was HONORED to be asked by Opal’s family to speak at her “celebration of life”. I was “floored” when I arrived at the funeral home to see Opal’s episode “looping” on a giant screen TV and her jersey hanging next to the television. The fishing rod that I had the honor of presenting to her on the show was with her at her casket. “This is the way she would have wanted it” her daughter told me…
Who knew that a TV show could bring two lives together – for such a short period of time – but make a lifetime full of memories! Opal was and is the REASON we do what we do….

Opal is now with Ken looking over us and making sure we continue our commitment to other Veterans. It is through THEIR honor that we will continue to serve our military heroes and preserve their legacies.”

Jay Garstecki – Trustee

Organizations We’ve Supported

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