Honoring Service Members on Veterans Day With Dale Kooyenga

Check out Jeremy’s latest podcast on public service by listening on “Apple Podcasts” or “Google Podcasts” or read below for our Veterans Day Special blog.


110 – So many people selflessly dedicate their lives toward serving the country and its people. Thank you to all veterans for your service. We salute you!

In this Veterans Day Special episode, Jeremy Keil interviews Dale Kooyenga, a member of the Wisconsin Senate, who also serves as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. Dale shares his life journey both as a veteran and a politician.

Dale discusses:

  • How the Honor Flight Network provides America’s veterans with the honor and support they deserve
  • How Hero Cards is sharing the stories of unsung war heroes
  • The difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day — and their significance
  • What encouraged him (and his two brothers) to join the military at a young age
  • And more

Veterans Day Special

What is Veterans Day and How it is Different From Memorial Day

Even if your heart is in the right place, you might get mixed up between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Veterans Day is held on the anniversary of the end of World War I. Primarily, it is celebrated to thank the living veterans who have either served in the past or are currently serving.

However, Memorial Day is about remembering those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice and died in the service of the country. It’s a day for all of us Americans to recognize those who have fallen.

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 while Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May every year.

Once you learn this difference, you may enjoy the significance of these special days even more!

The Honor Flight Network

Honor Flight is a not-for-profit organization that strives to provide America’s veterans with the honor and support they deserve. It does so by inviting veterans to share in a day of honor at the nation’s memorials.

It was started by bringing World War II veterans to the World War II Memorial at Washington DC.

Today, the veterans participating in an Honor Flight trip get to visit many national memorials and monuments such as the Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Lincoln Memorial, and more.

These trips take place at no cost to the veteran.

Many veterans, especially those returning from the Vietnam War, did not get the hero’s welcome they deserved. In fact, they were ostracized by society. Unlike World War II veterans, they were deprived of any praise and rewards.

The Honor Flight Network is currently serving veterans from the WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War eras. Learn more at HonorFlight.org.

We also encourage you to check out Honor Flight – The Movie. This is what Dale Kooyenga has to say about it: “After I watched the Honor Flight documentary, I cried like a baby!”

Hero Cards

You might be aware of collector cards, where people collect the cards of their favorite sports players or perhaps Pokémon.

Hero Cards creates similar cards for veterans who sacrificed their lives for the country. After all, they are the real heroes people should know about.

Hero Cards takes random service members who died anytime from the Revolutionary War to today. On the front of the card, there is a photo, painting or other form of illustration of the fallen veteran. The back of the card is imprinted with information about the veteran, including where they served, their awards, and how they died in action.

Every card also contains a unique number. You can visit herocards.us and type in the card number to learn more about the veteran.

We believe Hero Cards is playing a crucial role in sharing the stories of unsung war heroes.

Many people don’t read books. There are also fewer Hollywood movies telling the stories of veterans. Plus, most of them focus on popular figures. The everyday soldier barely receives much recognition.

We also loved how Hero Cards are reflecting the diversity within the U.S. military! From men and women involved in the Revolutionary War to the newer faces from Afghanistan and Iraq, including several Black, Hispanic, and Japanese veterans — Hero Cards serves to honor them all.

Dale Kooyenga’s Journey

As a guest on the podcast, Dale Kooyenga shared his fascinating life story with us.

Here’s a glimpse of it:

“I have a sister and two brothers. When we were young, we used to say, ‘If there’s ever a war, we’re serving together.’ It may have been inspired by a movie, either Saving Private Ryan or Legends of the Fall.

After 9/11, my mom called me and said, ‘All three of my boys are going to war.’ I thought it was a little dramatic, but it was right on.

My youngest brother got a parental waiver shortly thereafter and was 17-years-old when he went to basic training between his junior and senior year. My other brother, who was in college, called me one day and said, ‘Hey, when I’m out of college, I’m going to join the US army.’ He soon joined the special forces.

About the same time as my brother, I got a leave of absence from work and undertook basic training, followed by military intelligence school. I’ve been in the military now for 17 years, and I love it…”

To hear the full story, including how Dale later joined public services as a politician, tune in to the podcast above!


To learn more about honoring veterans, check out the resources below!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or our guest, Dale Kooyenga, using the contact information provided below!


Connect With Dale Kooyenga:

Connect With Jeremy Keil:

About Our Guest:

Dale Kooyenga is a contract Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Wisconsin Senate, proudly representing the 5th Senate District, and also serves as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. Prior to being elected to the State Assembly and consulting early-stage companies, Dale served as a Senior Manager at KPMG. Dale served the state of Wisconsin’s largest health care, manufacturing, financial services, government and not-for-profit entities. Dale has been trained by the US Army as a Military Intelligence officer and was designated the officer in charge of economic development for Coalition Forces in Baghdad during his tour in 2008. 



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