Courage asks for help | News, Sports, Jobs



NEW ULM — Boots. A coat. Gloves and a hat. The clothes most Minnesotans take for granted as temperatures begin to drop.

Not so with Disabled Minnesota Veteran Rudy Ruiz, a member of Chapter 15 of the Minnesota Department of Disabled American Veterans (DAV MN) in New Ulm.

Ruiz, who served in the Minnesota National Guard from 2001 to 2014, is battling cancer. It came as a surprise to a few who worked with him last spring when Ruiz was recognized as the DAV MN-Saint Paul Saints Game Honored Hero in late May.

“He never hinted that he was dealing with anything like that,” said Andrea Kostiuk, account manager at SnowGlobe Public Relations. “We chatted several times over email to coordinate. I had no idea.”

DAV MN Chapter 15 in New Ulm, along with other veterans organizations in the Brown County Veterans Council area, have pooled their resources to support the Ruiz family since February. It was thanks to fellow Chapter 15 members that Kostiuk later discovered that Ruiz’s prognosis was terminal – and that he’s the single parent of his four children.

“I immediately contacted him to see if there was anything I could do to help him. I was thrilled when he responded with a request. she says.

The email had one line: “Hi Andrea so far so good, I’m surviving, as long as my kids are happy, I’m happy. Any winter stuff would be great. I really appreciate you reaching out. Thank you so much.”

Kostiuk sprang into action, reaching out to her community of family and friends to raise whatever she could for the family of five. Thanks to a few family members and several sophomore families from Faithful Shepherd Catholic School in Eagan, MN, Ruiz and his four children, Ricky (16), Rudy Jr. (14), Isabelle (9), and Sophie (6) have been fully equipped for the weather to come.

“Rudy was ready to pay the ultimate price for our country. There is no reason for him to worry that his children will be warm enough this winter. He needs to focus his energy on this battle so he can be with them for as long as possible.

A service member herself, Kostiuk is happy for one thing: that Ruiz was honest and let her know what he needed.

“It’s hard for a lot of people, especially veterans, to ask for help. Minnesota veterans should know that the support system they had while serving still exists, it just looks a little different. Courage asks for help, and Rudy did. I’m proud of him and grateful to the village that has contributed to this effort.

Ruiz receives palliative home care at Sleepy Eye. Her uncle has set up a Go Fund Me for the four children to adjust to what will soon be a new life for them. You can visit their site here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/myt28-help-a-veteran-and-his-family?qid=5ed439e424e74d86aa6e5b32ea35bde1.

To learn more about DAV MN programs and membership, visit https://www.davmn.org.

If you or a veteran you know is looking for help accessing the extensive network of veteran resources across the state, contact your local county Veterans Service Officer by visiting https://www.macvso.org/ find-a-cvso.html.



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