The K.I.A. Memorial Roadmarch (“KMR”) started when SGM Jason Jaskula wanted to find a way to honor the memory of his Battle Buddy, Christopher Dill. Chris, a Staff Sgt. in the United States Army Reserves as well as a Buffalo Firefighter, was Killed In Action (K.I.A.) while deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 4, 2005 in Diyala, Iraq. He left behind family and friends who deeply miss him. Chris is always at the forefront when planning the March, especially when creating the Squad Challenges. Jason can often be heard asking ‘What would Chris do’.
When Jason returned from Iraq he volunteered wherever he could to help local Veterans, assisting with events such as Department of Veteran Affairs ‘Welcome Home Troops’ event and the Olympic-themed ‘Veterans Golden Age Games’. He also became a Buffalo Veterans Court Mentor. Meeting the families of Veterans who did not come home, and returning veterans who also lost good friends, had a profound effect on Jason as worked through his own grief for Chris. In trying to find a way to honor Chris’ memory, he realized that there was no single public event in Western New York to honor service members K.I.A.
On November 23, 2012 the first K.I.A. Memorial Roadmarch was held. It was a solo March, with Jason walking 22K carrying 60lbs of Memorial Rocks. Each rock barred the name of a service member from WNY K.I.A. during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND). It took him 3 hours 20 minutes and he raised $4,000.
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To Honor and remember the members of our Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our Country.
KMR donates the items from events three (3) local community groups to help Veterans in need:
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 77 Pantry
Gold Star Mother’s Pantry
Buffalo State College Milligan’s Pantry
Funds raised by KMR are used to support organizations such as Buffalo Treatment Court Mentors program www.buffaloveteranscourt.org , the Gold Star Mothers (GSM) and other programs supporting our Veterans. KMR funds are also used to help a very special cause, Children of Veterans. KMR runs events where people donate items such as toys for the holidays or funds to help Veterans children with camps for Kids or to help Veterans with the expense of daycare.