State senator recognizes Hamburg resident for his military career, volunteer work as mentor and law enforcement liaison for veterans
New York State Sen. Mark Grisanti recently named Jason Jaskula as "Veteran of the Month."
A resident of the Town of Hamburg who served in the Army with the 165th MP Company and later with Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Knox, Jaskula is the eighth recipient of the monthly honor presented by Grisanti.
"I am pleased to recognize Sgt. Maj. Jaskula for his passion not only for serving our country, but for supporting other military veterans," said Grisanti, a member of the State Senate's veterans, homeland security and military affairs committees. "His tour and military career is filled with various awards and honors, and his work with the Buffalo City Court veterans program and the Department of Veterans Affairs location in Buffalo is to be commended."
Jaskula joined the Army in 1989 and served four years active duty, first with the 165th MP Company and then with Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Knox before being discharged. He immediately joined the Army Reserves and has served for the past 21 years, currently serving as part of the 80th Training Command.
Jaskula was deployed in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, attached to CENTCOM and subsequently attached to several additional units, including the First Calvary Division, First Marine Division and First Infantry Division. While deployed, he served on a 10-man team as a military advisor for the Central Command Multi-National Force in Iraq. He advised and supervised the Iraqi Arm's Fifth Division, Sixth Battalion, as it carried out more than 150 combat missions, many of which occurred during Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah.
Jaskula's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge and various other awards during his tour and military career.
The impact of the death of his best friend, SSG Christopher Dill, a Western New York native and City of Buffalo firefighter who was killed in action in 2005 during a combat mission in Diyala Province, led to SGM Jaskula involving himself in local veterans programs and organizations to make sure that "no veteran is forgotten." He proudly serves as a mentor and law enforcement liaison between the Buffalo City Court veterans program and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also involved with the VA's annual "Welcome Home" event and created the Christopher Dill Memorial Car Cruise in conjunction with the "Welcome Home" celebration. He also was involved with the 2013 Golden Age Games held in Buffalo.
One of Jaskula's biggest accomplishments since being discharged was the KIA Memorial Road March. In 2012, he marched 13.6 miles carrying a rucksack weighted with 60 pounds of memorial rocks, each of which featured the name of one of the 60 service members from Western New York who were killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn. He raised more than $4,000 to support local veterans and also helped bring attention to all local residents who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
Jaskula opened up the KIA Memorial Road March to the general public last year and helped coordinate the first-ever KIA Memorial Road March at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, with more than 100 participants each carrying an average of 40 pounds of canned goods over a 6.2-mile course. The event raised more than $10,000 to support local veterans, and approximately 5,100 pounds of canned goods were donated to help local veterans and their families.
Jaskula works as a voluntary service specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Buffalo, is a member of Red Jacket VFW Post No. 3068, and is active with Vets4Vets/Pathfinders.
For more information about Grisanti's "Veteran of the Month" recognition program, including how you can submit a nomination, visit www.senatormarkgrisanti.com and click on the "Veterans" tab.