Mother Of Fallen Soldier Works To Build Ranch For Vets


Chrystyna Kestler says she wanted to find a way to honor her 24 year old son after he died in 2010 in Afghanistan from an improvised explosive device.

Now Kestler is celebrating her son's memory by working to build a vacation ranch for veterans in his name.

"He was a very dedicated platoon leader. He really took care of his men and their families," said Kestler.

Kestler has many memories of her son, 1st Lieutenant Joe Theinert, who was a Fort Drum platoon leader.

One thing that sticks out in her mind is the love he had for the people he worked with.

That is why it is so important for Kestler to carry on her son's legacy by helping other soldiers.

"We wanted to fulfill the mission of continually caring for troops and their families," she said.

To help with that effort, Kestler is working to create the Strongpoint Theinert Ranch in New Mexico for veterans, service members and their families to have a free week-long vacation.

There they will have the opportunity to participate in a number of outdoor activities.

To help raise money for the ranch, Fort Drum soldiers Benjamine Woods and John Kagel are helping Kesler organize a golf tournament at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona on July 28.

They never met Joe but they are eager to help. 

"The soldiers, the fallen soldiers, the soldiers' families, they're all family so we go to take care of each other otherwise nobody else will," said Kagel.

If you would like to give money for the ranch, you can donate to the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund at

Friday, December 2, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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