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Lt. Theinert’s Parents to Turn New Mexico Ranch Into Veteran's Resort

Chrystyna and Col. Frank Kestler tell the Albuquerque Journal about plans for a no-fee resort on their New Mexico ranch for veterans and families recovering from war.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert, who was killed in action in Afghanistan at age 24 in 2010, has been commemorated in many ways on his native Shelter Island — a section of Route 114 is now named after him, Shelter Island School holds an annual basketball tournament to raise scholarship funds, and his platoon was honored before they disbanded for good in May of 2011 on the island.

And now he’ll be remembered by soldiers and families of veterans who need a place to recover from the effects of war on the other side of the country in New Mexico, according to a report from the Albuquerque Journal.

Theinert’s mother, Chrystyna Kestler, and stepfather, Col. Frank Kestler, a local dentist who recently returned from a tour of duty himself, have plans to build a resort on their 1,100-acre ranch near Magdalena, N.M. for recovering veterans and families.

The couple spends about 12 weeks a year at the property, which they bought with their son in mind — Joe loved the outdoors and hunting. They have sketched out a 16-room,14,000-square-foot no-fee facility to accommodate about 35 people, complete with staffed dining room, exercise room, stable and 24-hour medical care available.

Chrystyna told the journal that, as the mother who lost a son in war, she knows how much support it takes after such devastation.

 “There’s great healing in sharing combined experiences,” she said.

Read the full piece in the Albuquerque Journal here.

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