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Honoring the Dead by Helping the Living

Memorial Day, United States. This national holiday holds different meanings to different people. For some, it’s a 3-day weekend filled with cookouts and mattress sales. For others, it’s a way to honor those who’ve died while serving in our armed forces. For most, it’s a combination of both. And for some, including several Peak Hosting employees, it goes further.

Plato wrote, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Veterans returning from overseas conflicts often don’t receive the support or assistance they need when transitioning back to their pre-war lives. Injured, sick or troubled soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen shouldn’t have to face their troubles or, in some cases, inner demons alone. And they don’t have to.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) traces its roots back to the beginning of the 20th Century and was founded to help sick and wounded veterans returning from war. Early pioneers of the organization fought for veterans’ rights, while more recent efforts have been instrumental in creating the VA, our nation’s national cemetery system, and helped fund many of our war memorials. And as good as these things are, a major objective is to help foster a community among veterans and help advocate on their behalf. One of the group’s mottos is as simple as it is direct: Honoring the dead by helping the living.

So, why are we posting about Memorial Day and the VFW? Easy…Peak Hosting has a strong commitment to hiring vets and the vets we do hire continue to give back to their brothers and sisters in arms. This blog post focuses on three of them, all members of the VFW 1324 “Three Rivers” post in Oregon City, Oregon.

Matt Yaskovic (Colo Facilities Manager) – Post 1324 Sr. Vice Commander, 2015-2016. Post 1324 Service Officer 2012- 2015. Matt served in the US Navy as a Cryptologic Technician with Submarine Group 2 at the end of the Cold War (1989-1991) and aboard USS Texas CGN-39 during combat operations with the Nimitz Battle Group in Operation Desert Storm (1991).

Kyle Olsen (DevOps Engineer) – Post 1324 Member since 2013, also serves on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs in Washington D.C. CDMRP is a group of DOD medical research programs covering everything from blue-sky research at private and public institutions and universities to clinical trials at active military and VA hospitals. It directs almost $800 million of research annually, and over $7.6 billion since the program began. Kyle represents the VFW and Post 1324 in this effort. Kyle served in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom II Oct- 2003-April 2005, US Army, D Company, 2/162 Infantry, 39 BCT, 1st Cavalry Division.

Adam Sully (Technical Account Manager) – Post 1324 Member since 2014. Adam served in the US Marine Corps at Forward Operating Base Fiddler’s Green, Helmand Province, Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion 11th Marines in 2009 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Adam’s unit was featured in the National Geographic special “Camp Leatherneck” (available on Netflix).

With the help of these three Peak Hosting employees and other members of the post, VFW 1324 has achieved All State, All American honors from 2012 to 2014 for fundraising, supporting veterans’ (and their families’) needs and community participation. Since 2013, Post 1324 has raised $40,000 for their Veterans Relief Fund which is directed for use by Veterans, their families and the communities Post 1324 serves (Oregon City, West Linn, Gladstone and Milwaukie).

Of this money, almost 70% of the funds went to direct support for veterans and their families and (30%) Post-sponsored scholarships, overseas troop support and the VFW National Home for Children (39% combined) (see sidebar).

In addition to the work these three directly accomplish with their post, they continue to work to help their fellow veterans.

Memorial Day Vets - Harold-Wallis VFW
Memorial Day Vets - Harold-Wallis VFW

On May 8, 2015, Matt was also a guest speaker on the Lars Larson Show – Northwest Edition (his part starts 5:10 mins from the end of the show, where he was invited to talk about Victory in Europe Day. During the show, Matt talked about Mr. Harold Wallis, a member of VFW 1324 Post who served on Omaha Beach during D-Day.

Matt also talked about an upcoming fundraiser “Skydiving for Veterans” planned for June 6, 2015. The event, to be held on the 71st anniversary of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France, will provide funds to the Historical Outreach Foundation of Oregon, VFW Post 1324 and Team Red,White & Blue. In furthering our commitment to helping veterans, Peak Hosting is proud to be a Silver Star sponsor ($2,500) of the event.

The VFW’s current motto is “No one does more for veterans.” Based on the work that Matt, Kyle and Adam are doing with Post 1324, we couldn’t agree more. But Peak Hosting’s commitment to hiring veterans is a good start at trying to match it.

VFW Post 1324 raised $40,000 between 2013 and now. Here’s what they’ve done with it:

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