After their son’s death on June 4, 2010, the parents of 1LT Joseph J. Theinert, Dr. Francis “Doc” Kestler and Chrystyna Kestler knew they wanted to continue Joe’s legacy of caring for his platoon. During his deployment in March of 2010, Joe’s primary goal was to bring everyone home safe. While none of Joe’s men were physically injured during their year-long deployment, they lost their leader when Joe was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).
For the remainder of the deployment the Theinert-Kestler family worried intensely about the men of 2nd Platoon, 1-71 Cavalry, and upon their return to U.S. soil the family insisted to Army Leadership that the entire platoon come to Joe’s hometown, Shelter Island, New York, so that the family could communicate their love and concern for these men.
It was this visit with Joe's platoon that shaped a lot of our ideas about how important it is for veterans to have time to spend with each other in a relaxed environment, where they can decompress over events they have experienced together or have in common, and heal. Doc and Chrys, having already used the New Mexico property as their own personal retreat, knew that the space would be perfect for veterans, their families, and other Gold Star Families.
STR is located on a 1,000-acre former cattle ranch amongst the scenic mountains and open prairies of remote Magdalena, New Mexico.
A 95-minute drive from Albuquerque, with no internet and limited cell reception, STR is a complete escape for guests. The property abuts the Cibola National Forest — 1.6 million acres of public land with elevations from 2,700 to 11,300 feet.
Here, guests rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit.
Currently, STR retreats are made possible by our foundation, our family, and our friends. The Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund underwrites all guest travel and retreat expenses – averaging $600 per person – covering round-trip travel, meals, and equipment. Our family provides housing for all retreat guests. Our friends volunteer their time coordinating trip logistics and leading retreat activities.
You can make the next STR retreat possible and help us reach even more vets and families by making a fully tax-deductible donation at JJTMF.org.
Dr. Francis Kestler
Doc, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, is Joe’s stepfather, and also the man who first introduced the family to the American Southwest.
Doc grew up dreaming about life as a cowboy, so while on a U.S. Army Reserve active assignment to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas he decided to take a drive around neighboring New Mexico. Needless to say, he fell in love with the “land of enchantment.”
Early on, Doc envisioned the Ranch as a place for him to retire, or to take hunting trips with Joe, but following Joe’s death in June of 2010 Doc and Chrys (Joe's Mom) wanted to shift the focus of the Ranch, and use it to help veterans.
Jimbo Theinert is Joe’s younger brother and an avid traveler who often finds time to escape to the mountains with his wife, Mary, to find solace in the natural beauty of the American wilderness. Their travels have brought Jimbo to all 50 states! and at least fifteen different National Parks.
Jimbo’s love for his brother and the outdoors have helped him to create the framework for the healing environment that is Strongpoint Theinert Ranch. When he is not out seeing the world, or working on the Ranch, he can be found teaching high school mathematics in the Theinerts’ hometown of Shelter Island, NY.
Maggie graduated from Shelter Island High School with Jimbo Theinert in 2005 and grew up very close to the Theinert brothers. Maggie enjoys learning about and meeting new people, which transfers nicely to her career in corporate recruiting. She is particularly passionate about helping veterans transition from active duty to civilian employment.
Maggie's love for Joe and passion for helping those that serve us drives her to ensure that Strongpoint Theinert Ranch provides solace, peace and healing for our veterans.
Dan grew up in Southampton, NY and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1999. After the attacks of September 11th Dan was deployed in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After his time in the Marines, Dan finished his undergraduate studies at Stony Brook University. In 2014 he began working for a nonprofit organization assisting homeless veterans. Through this work, and the tight knit communities of the East End of Long Island, he was introduced to the Theinert-Kestler family and has been passionately involved with Strongpoint Theinert Ranch ever since.