Financially – To assist in securing financial assistance for living necessities that include but are not limited to: rent, utilities, food, vehicle repair/maintenance, transportation costs, and medical equipment and supplies.
Physically - To bring physical wellness and peace through recreational activities that include but are not limited to: fishing, hunting, boating, golfing, camping, bowling, and water sports.
Mentally – To offer an array of group therapy, counseling, and education including but not limited to: PTSD, depression, suicide awareness, chemical dependency, and the many other hardships of war.
Victory and Valor for Vets Project is located in, River Falls, WI and was incorporated in August of 2016. It became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in February 2017. It was founded in honor of, MSgt Sergeant Derrick J Schmitt, to honor his 22 ½ years of dedication to our country serving in the US Air Force Security Forces Phoenix Raven Special Operations Forces. His wishes were for us to assist his fellow brothers and sisters, after his recovery from his injuries, with starting a non-profit organization so they may also have an outlet of help for recovery. He passed away from his military injuries and exposures on March 12, 2015. We, at Victory and Valor for Vets Project, have dedicated our lives to taking on this mission and honoring his wishes.
VVVPs’ purpose is to assist Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families struggling financially, physically, and/or mentally. We will assist in securing financial assistance for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families in the Wisconsin and Minnesota area for living necessities that include, but are not limited to: rent, utilities, food, vehicle repair/maintenance, transportation costs, medical equipment, and supplies, etc. VVVP will offer physical activities for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families. Activities such as golfing, bowling, swimming, camping, and movie night will unite veterans and families in need. VVVP will offer an array of group therapy, counseling, and educational materials including but not limited to: PTSD and Depression literature and education and group therapy for Veterans, Service Members, Caregivers, and Family members. VVVP’s website will offer an array of educational readings to assist with the many questions and aide in the understanding of the hardships of war on Veterans and their families.
VVVPs' financial assets will come from fundraising, sponsorships, donors, grant money, and merchandise sales. Our three-year financial plan will begin with raising money during the Summer of 2017 and distributing funds starting the Fall of 2017. The first part of our mission will be forming Mental Health Groups for Veterans, Service Members, Military Families, caregivers, and their children. These groups will take place in River Falls, WI. Next, we will be helping find solutions to the multiple financial burdens that Veterans and their families face, giving preference to those that are in immediate and urgent need. To complete our mission of offering those Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families in need of physical guidance and recreational activities, we will be seeking out the resources of other non-profits that are already established. There are many great non-profits available that are willing to collaborate with our organization to help our cause.
We appreciate your support of our organization. It is only through people like you that our mission can be accomplished. Please consider becoming a sponsor, donor, volunteer, or purchasing our merchandise. All proceeds go towards the goal of fulfilling our mission.
VVVP Board Members
Jessica Schmitt – President
Jessica Schmitt is the Founder/CEO/President of Victory and Valor for Vets Project, Inc. She started the non-profit corporation in honor of her late husband, retired MSgt Derrick J. Schmitt. Following retirement, his many injuries became so disabling and debilitating he required daily caretaking. She took an unpaid Military Leave of Absence after 19 years of working with Allina Health to care for him. It was during this time that she realized the tremendous need for veteran and family assistance services while researching for their own personal crisis situation. She has experience as a "Lead" role in the clinical setting. She also taught American Heart Association Certified CPR classes through Allina for three years, along with various other teaching roles within the clinic setting. She trained and mentored new employees and students. She had devoted 24 years working as a Clinical Assistant in the Health Care Industry, which gave her the necessary tools to become an advocate, mentor, and resource person for her current role. Her past career, along with her experience of taking care of her husband, has given her much empathy and love for people. It has become her passion and mission to continue her husband's dream and honor his service to his country by helping veterans and their families that have sacrificed so much.
Bryan Bodrog – Vice President
Bryan Bodrog, MS, LPCC – Bryan joined the St. Paul Vet Center Team in July 2012 after completing his Graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Bryan is a Marine Corps Veteran having served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) where he was wounded while deployed and subsequently awarded the Purple Heart. Bryan has extensive experience in Trauma Focus Therapy, Couples and Family Therapy. Bryan provides individual, group, marriage and family counseling, bereavement, and AODA service to combat veterans and their families.
Mary Waters – Secretary
Mary Waters is currently employed by the River Falls Public Schools as a Special Needs Bus Driver. She is certified in Transporting Children with Special Health Care Needs through Safe Kids U.S.A since 2012. She has been and is currently a Nationally Certified Safe Kids Child Passenger Technician since 2003. She was honored as the Wisconsin Child Passenger Safety Technician of the year in 2014. She is a First Responder with the River Falls Area Ambulance and has been involved the local EMS since 1976. She previously served as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce from 1985 – 1993. She feels great honor and respect to be able to serve on the first Board of Director's for Victory and Valor for Vets Project.
Kimberly Bruesewitz received her Masters of Science in School Counseling in 2014. She is licensed K-12 in both WI and MN. Prior to earning her degree, she was an Aeromedical Evacuation Technician (Flight Medic) in the Air Force and traveled the world. She has interned/worked in the following school districts: River Falls, Prescott, Baldwin, and Ellsworth, WI. Kimberly resides in River Falls with her son, Parker.
Achievements of Kimberly's include: Air Force Honor Graduate 1991, 109th AES Honor Airman of the Year 1995, Air Force Commendation Medal 1996, and Air Force Achievement Medal 1996 and 1997, Psi Chi member since 2002, Chi Sigma Iota member since 2013, National Certified Counselor (NCC) 2014. Maintains professional memberships with ACA: American Counselor Association; ASCA: American School Counselor Association; WSCA: Wisconsin School Counselor Association. She has received certification as a School Counseling Leadership Specialist.
Kimberly has experience working with students K-12 individually and in small groups. As a school counselor, she ensures that students personal/social, academic, and career needs are met and provides interventions when necessary.
Her approach to working with youth is to listen without judgment! It takes a village to raise youth and Kimberly is excited to be a part of that village. Collaboration is the key to maximizing services in order to help the greatest number of families.
Lawrence Waters was born and raised in Glenwood City, WI. He Graduated from Glenwood City High School in 1968. He went to one semester of Vocation School in Eau Claire, WI. He started working at Andersen Windows in February 1969. He went active duty US Navy in June 1969. He made two six-month deployment's to Vietnam. He was discharged as a Petty Officer Second Class, E-5, in April 1973. He then went back to work for Andersen Windows after discharge and was a Production Supervisor when retiring in February 2005. He has two children, Tony and Tara. He married, Mary Sticht, in June 2001. He now works part-time at CARQUEST in River Falls, WI.
Esther Sykora and her husband, Pete, are longtime residents of the River Falls area. They came here for college and have remained. They, and their six children have been friends of the Schmitt family for many years. Pete is a Vietnam Vet, as is his brother. His father was a WWII Vet. Esther retired from 3M after 35 years in finance, marketing and training. She has been active at St. Bridget’s Church, as well as many other non-profits including, the Girl Scouts and the Arthritis Foundation. She has served in a variety of capacities on boards of non-profits including, The Association for Talent Development - Greater Twin Cities (2007- present) and the Center for Emerging Leadership (2009-2016). During this service to non-profits, she has done speaking, fund-raising, organizing of major events, and had numerous finance and leadership roles.
Brittani Schmitt is the daughter of Founder Jessica Schmitt and Msgt Derrick Schmitt. She has a background as an Assisted Living Administrator and is currently pursuing a Healthcare Management Degree through the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Brittani has two children, ages 5 and 1, who are her pride and joy. As a military child, she knows firsthand the sacrifices that a family goes through when a military member dedicates their life to our country.
Jenna Nievinski, B.A. Psychology and M.S. Education, has always had a passion for helping others. Jenna has dedicated most of her personal and professional life to helping others and jumped at the opportunity to join VVVP as soon as she learned about it.
Jenna's family includes several veterans. She also has several friends that are veterans and active duty military. Jenna believes that our Veterans, Military Members, and their families sacrifice so much for us and do not receive adequate assistance upon return from their service. Jenna fully supports VVVP's mission and continues to look forward to helping those in need.