Meet our Founder!

Oct 11, 2020 | News

Jerrod W. Kester currently serves as the Security Forces Chief Enlisted Manager at 107th Attack Wing New York Air National Guard and as the Founder of Whirlwind Veterans and Warrior Retreat. He is a native of Eden, New York, and attended Eden High School before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1990.  He later went on to join the Army National Guard and the United States Air Force as a traditional reservist.  He now serves as the SFS Chief Enlisted Manager on active duty orders for the 107th Attack Wing and is a proud member of the New York Air National Guard. 

In 2019, Jerrod founded Whirlwind Veterans and Warrior Retreat to serve his fellow veterans and provide resources to those struggling with the alarming rates of veteran suicide, PTSD, depression, divorce, homelessness, and substance abuse, anxiety, and isolation.  Having already purchased his child-hood farm, he set out to make this dream a reality. In a year, Whirlwind Veterans and Warrior Retreat have established a viable resource to the over 62,999 veterans living in the Erie County area. 

Pulling from the Greatest Generations of World War II Veterans’ ideals, he utilized what he had available and structured a program that would focus on building resiliency through agricultural therapy.  In 1940, the Army Air Corps personnel from all areas of operation needed a regime of restful activity during World War II. The Corps’ convalescent hospital in Pawling, New York, in cooperation with the Red Cross, used animal-assisted therapy. The men were encouraged to work on the center’s farm with hogs, cattle, horses, and poultry. 

By providing resources through farming, raising animals, fishing, trails, gardening, horse therapy, beekeeping, and fostering master resiliency techniques, he seeks to provide veterans with the tools necessary to live their best life in an environment that builds camaraderie with their peers and community. 

“We serve those who serve, and if we build it, they will come.” 

Jerrod Wayne Kester
Chief Executive Officer
Whirlwind Veterans and Warrior Retreat 

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