About the President / Co-Founder
Chris Kreiger was inspired to co-found WNY Heroes – a veterans’ assistance organization – as a result of personal experience gained following a decade of service with the United States military.
Kreiger joined the U.S. Army in 1997 with primary military occupation specialty status (MOS) as a combat medic, and secondary MOS as Military Police. During his first five years in the military, he served his country and others in several important security operations:
- In 1998, Kreiger secured Operation Gold Cargo’s cross-country munitions transfer and storage.
- In 1999, he served alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces securing mass grave sites in Bosnia through Operation Join Forge
- In 2001, Kreiger was called to Ground Zero on 9/11 with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to protect New York City’s train stations, in conjunction with the New York Police Department and Port Authority following the September 11th attacks.
- In 2002, he served on Operation Noble Eagle, working with Customs and Immigration to secure bridges and detect illegal immigrants and drug smuggling.
- Of all the challenges he faced in the military, the most impactful was to come in 2003, when he was called to serve as a medic in Operation Iraqi Freedom – the war in Iraq.
During his service in Iraq, Kreiger was hit multiple times by roadside bombs, one of which left him seriously injured. The extensive injuries he sustained required surgeries on his right leg and lower back. He also dislocated a hip, lost significant hearing in both ears, now leaving him to wear hearing aids.
Further complicating his short- and long-term recovery, Kreiger experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) to the left side of his brain.
Kreiger returned home where setbacks continued. It took two years to receive
100 percent disability pay – and in the meantime, he and his family experienced the additional heartbreak of losing their home as a result of financial and physical difficulties from his wartime injuries.
Kreiger was released from the military in 2007, and in 2008 was sent to the Veterans Hospital Polytrauma Brain Injury Center in Richmond Virginia, where he spent 5 weeks receiving much-needed care for the injuries he incurred, including medical attention to control the seizures resulting from TBI.
Today, as the co-founder of the non-profit organization WNYHeroes, Inc., Kreiger works tirelessly to provide the support, assistance and resources – financial, physical and emotional – that veterans need following service to our country. The organization’s goal, as well as Kreiger’s own, is to ease the transition from combat to civilian life, and eliminate the hardships and complications that too many veterans continue to experience in America today. In 2010, Kreiger was contacted and trained by FBI and local police agencies as a consultant to veteran issues involving police. He now works with multiple agencies to help keep situation’s from turning into something worse.