The Legacy Foundation has been focused on building the community of Lake County Indiana for 26 years and is a leader when it comes to helping the community become a better place.
The Legacy Foundation is a volunteer based nonprofit organization that provides scholarships, grants, and assistance to donors when needed. The goal is to make a positive impact on the community in any way that they can. One way they do that is through creating scholarship funds to support the youth.
Jeff Van Hecke was a marine veteran who had an incredible impact on both his loved ones and the community. He was known as a man with a heart of gold, and his kindness struck a chord with many people. Hecke was a hard-working member of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post in Dyer, Indiana. The members of Dyer VFW Post 6448 became an extension of his own family, which included his wife of 25 years, Yolanda, and his son, Jonathan. Sadly, Hecke passed away unexpectedly on May 14, 2018.
The Jeff Van Hecke Memorial is a scholarship fund that will be annually awarded to a child or grandchild of a veteran from the VFW. Hecke's family and friends put their heads together and created the memorial scholarship fund to honor his memory.
Justin Zandy, a member of the VFW, remembers Jeff fondly.
"Jeff was honestly the kind of guy that would do anything for anybody to help them out. He constantly had things going on, and it was always for someone else," Zandy said.
Hecke was passionate about helping veterans and did everything in his power to honor their legacy, even to the point where he would become critical of his own efforts.
"Jeff and I would talk one on one, and he was so harsh on himself,” Zandy said. “He was always kicking himself for not doing enough for veterans. It was never enough."
Even outside of the VFW post, Hecke’s first priority was always helping a veteran in need. He had started Vets Vites, a dietary supplement business, with partner Peter Finkle, who is carrying on the company's mission to assist groups that help veterans and their families. The company is geared toward providing vitamins to help veterans deal with their PTSD. Regardless of other projects, Hecke never said no to lending a hand to his fellow man.
"When I needed him to do an event, even if it was a last minute thing, he would drop everything to help," Zandy said. "It was really hard to thank him, he didn't want to hear it. He said 'I don't have to breathe right now, you're the one that went overseas, you fought so I could breathe and be alive.' He was so dedicated."
Jeff Van Hecke made helping veterans and veterans’ families his life’s goal and passion, and you can help him continue that legacy. If you would like to donate to the Jeff Van Hecke Memorial Scholarship, visit the Legacy Foundation’s donations page here: engage.legacyfdn.org/view-all-needs/campaign/575?layout=single. To learn more about the Legacy Foundation, visit www.legacyfdn.org.