Tell me about Kyle. What was he like?
Kyle was dedicated, strong, fun loving, charismatic, and always smiling. He was compassionate, athletic and always helping in any way he could. Kyle loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved to vacation at the beach. Through the years Kyle played sports, performed and assisted in the production of stage events, and enjoyed school social activities. One of his favorite family activities was hiking and mountain climbing in the Adirondacks.
Why did he feel compelled to serve?
He was deeply moved by the events of 9/11, but even before then he had an internal sense of service and duty to community. At his calling hours, his third-grade teacher said, “Kyle was the most patriotic student I have ever had.” He lived by Honor, Courage and Commitment, the Marine Corps Motto. Kyle had an internal flame to honor, serve and protect.
What happened to Kyle?
In May 2010 he volunteered for deployment, stating, “It’s my turn. It’s my turn to bring home a brother, a father, a husband, a son.” Kyle volunteered to leave his Presidential Support Duty at Marine Barracks, 8th & I, after serving two years in Washington D.C., and was transferred to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. In January 2011, days after his 23rdbirthday, he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the II Marine Expeditionary Force, where he served as a squad leader. He courageously led his team against enemy forces. Kyle was killed in action on June 30, 2011. He gallantly gave his life for his country. His military awards consist of: Double Purple Heart with Gold Star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star of Valor, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, ISAF NATO Medal.
What made you decide to start a foundation in his name?
The foundation was created to honor Kyle’s legacy of service, to honor and remember our fallen, to be committed to service for our veterans and active duty, along with serving the community as needed, and to try and make a difference each and every day. I believe that every act of kindness is freedom extended, that kindness and good will prevail. We started a foundation for our beloved Kyle, in his memory and to honor his legacy of giving. We are reminded that it’s not what Kyle died for, but rather what he lived for that inspires. When he joined the Marines, Kyle said, “It’s my turn.” Now, it’s our turn — to make a difference. Kyle devoted and sacrificed for his country and community, we will continue his legacy by giving back to veterans and their families, angel families and wounded warriors along with other military support groups.
What does The Cpl. Kyle Schneider Foundation do? What’s your mission?
It is through Kyle’s leadership, his example of caring and giving, his legacy of saying “It’s my turn” that we, as a grieving family, knew that we needed to make each and every day count, make every day an example of what he stood for, his legacy. Every day we all have opportunities do an act of kindness, for every act of kindness is freedom extended. A few of the programs the Foundation has includes prayer/comfort shawls/lap blankets/pillows/critters, Mission of Thanks Thanksgiving and Christmas, care packages, Cpl. Kyle Schneider Family Room at Syracuse VA, Caring Hands Program, local scholarships to high school seniors, partners with Take A Soldier Fishing and Snacks for Veterans Program. The Foundation also partners with organizations for a common goal to aid and assist veterans and their families. The Cpl. Kyle R. Schneider Foundation will focus on giving aid to the military community and military support groups both locally and nationally. We will also aid and support community needs as they arise.
How has the Foundation helped veterans since it began?
We hope the Foundation has be able to bring assistance, comfort and aide to some of our active duty, our veterans and their families. That the Foundation has been able to show them we are grateful for their service and dedication to our country, through the many programs that we have.
How has it helped you?
I have Kevin, my younger son, and I can spend time with him just like I always have. The foundation is a way for me to still be active as Kyle’s mom. He is not here with me physically, but I feel his presence in every act we do through the Foundation; from a smile or a hug, to food on the table to feed a hungry veteran and his family. It’s Kyle’s spirit that keeps me doing his work, continuing his legacy. He’s with us always. May he never be forgotten.
Why is it so important to help our veterans?
We enjoy the freedoms we have today because of the service, dedication and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and their families that are by their sides as they do so. We are the land of the free because of our brave. It is important for us to show them our gratitude, appreciation and thanks for all they have done.
How can we help our vets?
Being active in the veteran community and listening to our veterans is important. Give our veteran population our time, kindness, caring and assistance. Give them an opportunity to get together. Live lives worthy of their sacrifices.
How can people support the Cpl. Kyle Schneider Foundation?
The Foundation is an all-volunteer organization. It is the community that allows us each and every day to make a difference in our veterans and their family’s lives. It is the community that comes together with their donations and volunteer hours that makes what we do possible. It is getting our youth involved, and educating them on caring and giving, on volunteering to make a difference in an individual’s life. The Corporal Kyle R. Schneider Foundation is an instrument of that care. Volunteering their time and talent is a wonderful way to assist the foundation and our veterans. Monetary Donations assist the Foundation in providing the programs it has to be able to aide our veterans and their families.
Is there anything I didn’t ask that you think people should know?
I am who I am today by the grace of God and the spirit of an amazing angel. It is truly faith, family, friends and community that get me through each day.