The Freedom 13
Veterans Recreational Retreat Project 

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The Vision

The Freedom 13 is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit (application pending) set up with a simple Mission:

Remembering The Heroes That Made The Ultimate Sacrifice by Supporting The Veterans Still With Us.

Our goal is to build a Recreational Camp in each of the 50 states consisting of 13 individual homes honoring the 13 American Heroes lost in Kabul on 26 AUG 2021. We will hire 1 veteran to work full time on site as a property manager and they will live on-site rent free.

Remembering Heroes.

While we can't change the past, we can learn from it.

But even more importantly, we can make a positive impact in the lives of those that made sacrifices some of us will never understand.

The Freedom 13 Non-Profit Organization, and the vision of The Freedom 13 Veterans Recreational Retreat Villages, was founded to honor and remember our son, LCPL Jared M. Schmitz, USMC, along with the other 12 brave American Heroes.

The 13 - The Freedom 13 - tragically lost their lives in a suicide bombing at Abbey Gate, Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan on 26 AUG 2021, 17:50 local time.

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The Freedom 13

LCPL David L Espinoza, USMC ~ SGT Nicole L Gee, USMC ~ SSG Darin T Hoover, USMC ~ SSG Ryan Christian Knauss, US Army
CPL Hunter Lopez, USMC ~ LCPL Dylan R Merola ~ LCPL Kareem M Nikoui, USMC ~ LCPL Rylee J McCollum ~ CPL Daegan W-T Page, USMC
SGT Johanny Rosario Pichardo, USMC ~ CPL Humberto A Sanchez ~ LCPL Jared M Schmitz, USMC ~ HM3 Maxton W. Soviak, USN

Supporting Veterans.

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Each of the Villages will be a safe haven for veterans and their families, consisting of 13 homes, from single bedroom to to multi-bedroom to accommodate veterans and their families. Each unit will be handicap accessible.

Each Village will offer a variety of recreational activities like hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, swimming and more. Fire pits, a gazebo and other amenities will make The Freedom 13 Recreational Retreats a great place to recharge and renew.

We'll also be partnering with independent Veteran Service Organizations to bring Mental Health Counseling, job training, search and placement, service dogs.

Recreational Village 1

The first Veterans Recreational Retreat Village will be built in Missouri.

Estimated costs for the project:

- $2,000,000 - $4,000,000  We have raised approximately 1/3 of our goal for this first project. 

Who we are ...

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Mark and Jaclyn Schmitz were born and raised in St. louis, MO.

Mark, Jared's father, owns and operates two businesses in the greater Scharles County, MO area:

  ~ Wide I Photo, a marketing photography company
  ~ Barley & Vine, a mobile beverage catering business.

Jaclyn is Jared's stepmother, who owns and operates her own insurance business covering the Greater St. Charles County area:

~ Brightside Insurance Agency.

Jared has 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and graduated from Fort Zumwalt High School in 2019.

Join The Mission Today!

If you'd like to help honor America's heroes while at the same time supporting our military veterans, please consider joining our Mission.

Click a link below to donate and  learn more.

Fundraising Opportunities

Whether you make a one time donation, become a monthly donor or participate in The Remember The 13 on the 13th, every little bit makes a big difference.


Join us for the 2nd Annual LCPL Jared Schmitz Memorial Pub Crawl.

F13 Business Partnership

From company apparel to corporate wear to promotional products, why not partner up with The Freedom 13 for co-branded apparel and merchandising?

Freedom 13 Store

From tees to hats and a wide variety of accessories, The Freedom 13 Store has some great and unique gift ideas.

Back to shop now

Would like to receive additional information?

Please drop us and email!