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Fallen Soldier's Family Plans To Build Resort for Veterans Returning from War

Chrystyna and Col. Frank Kestler will pay tribute to Lt. Joseph Theinert, who had ties to Sag Harbor, by building a no-fee resort on their New Mexico ranch for veterans and their families.

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.

Theinert's father Jim Theinert lives in Sag Harbor.

Read the full piece in the Albuquerque Journal here.

john damoew January 09, 2013 at 05:41 PM
My name is john i live in magdalena nm if anyone can contact the kestlers i would like to help my contact is jdamore1968@gmail.com
Hazel Wilkonson the First January 09, 2013 at 10:35 PM
What a terrific way to honor your son and all vets. I wish you every success.
K. January 09, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I agree with Hazel. This is one of the most touching tributes to a son and all vets of all time. I too wish you every success.

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