The United Presbyterian Church will honor Traer area veterans with a special recognition meal and program in appreciation or their service to our country. The event will take place Wednesday, November 6 with the meal at 5:30 p.m. and the program, which is open to the public, beginning at 7 p.m.
Veterans are asked to call the church at 478-2742 to make reservations for themselves and their guests.
Anyone wishing to add a photograph to the Veterans Honor Roll should drop it by the church office. It will be scanned and returned to you.
Kyle Dykstra (left) will be the guest speaker at this year’s meal and program to honor veterans at the Traer United Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, November 6. Dykstra is a veteran of Afghanistan.
This year's guest speaker will be Kyle Dykstra, an Afghanistan veteran. Dykstra enlisted in the Army as a forward observer immediately after graduating from Central College in Pella in 2006. After completing basic individual training and Airborne school, he was assigned to Headquarters and 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division with deployment to Afghanistan in January 2007. He was based out of the Forward Operating Base Salerno Khowst Province and served in the tactical operations centers at the NCO in charge of the Fires and Effects desk, monitoring situations and fire support requests for six provinces. In January 2008, he was reassigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Kandahar Airfield and served in a similar role until redeploying to Fort Bragg, NC in April, 2008. He was promoted to Sergeant in January, 2009 and redeployed to Afghanistan in August, 2009, serving as forward observer for an infantry platoon based out of Fire Base Tycz in Uruzgan Province. His platoon was charged with training and mentoring thirteen different Afghan police checkpoints with over 2300 officers. While at Tycz, Dykstra formulated the ideas to do a school supply drive for local schools. He took the idea to his family about conducting some sort of supply drive and they reached out to Central College and several other schools, churches and businesses in the Pella and Des Moines area. This initiative resulted in sixty boxes of school supplies delivered to a boys' school located next to the local police station where the Afghan Police were based. His platoon moved from Tycz to Kandahar City in June, 2010 and remained there until redeploying in August, 2010.
Dykstra left the army in April 2011 and worked for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security as a Security Protective Specialist in July 2011. He was assigned to Baghdad, Iraq, working first out of the FOB Shield in eastern Baghdad before moving permanently to the U.S. Embassy. In this position, he was responsible for serving as the agent in charge of protective details of numerous diplomats and civilian employees as well as supervising numerous teams of security contractors. He left the State Department in November 2012 and moved back to Des Moines where he completed his Master's Degree in Terrorism and Counter-terrorism Studies from Henley-Putnam University. In January 2012, he traveled to Kenya for two weeks to help advise on the presidential campaign of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Upon returning to Iowa, Dykstra worked on the Just Say No casino campaign in Cedar Rapids before becoming the Veterans Outreach Representative for Congressman Bruce Braley's Cedar Rapids district office. His job now focuses on being the "go-to-guy" for 1st District veterans and service members as well as assisting them in transitioning through the VA backlog and helping them with any issues they may have such as records recovery or retrieving any medals earned but not awarded.