About Jason Simcakoski Foundation, Inc.
Family and friends of Jason Simcakoski started the foundation following Jason’s passing to help bring hope to other families and veterans facing addiction and mental health issues. Using an evidence-based approach to treatment and rehabilitation, the foundation seeks to provide recreational activities/alternatives to improve the health and wellness of veterans and their families.
Jason “Jake” Simcakoski was born to Marv and Linda Simcakoski on September 15, 1978 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The oldest of his three siblings, Jason was an outgoing leader from a young age. He excelled in sports, especially wrestling. As an older brother, he was also extremely protective of his siblings, especially his sister Michelle.
After graduating Pacelli High School in 1997, Jason made the decision to join the Marine Corps. Service was a calling for Jason and he picked the Marine Corps because he saw it as the toughest of the services. He always wanted to be number one at what he did and he excelled in the Marine Corps. He reached the rank of Corporal, receiving the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with 1 Star, Certificate of Commendation, the Rifle Sharp Shooters Badge and the Good Conduct Medal.
While stationed in Hawaii, Jason met his future wife, fellow Marine Heather Fluty. Their daughter Anaya was Jason’s entire world and only his daughter could get this decorated Marine to lay on the ground and color for hours or spend time outdoors catching frogs or playing in a nearby park. Jason cherished his time with his daughter.
Jason was honorably discharged on February 23, 2002. While in service, Jason suffered a head injury on base and this injury would later cause Jason to seek medical treatment with the VA. Unfortunately, Jason got hooked on pain medication instead of getting the help he needed. At one point, he was on over 15 medications and he lost himself. He went from being one the fittest man in his platoon to someone who could not find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Tragically, Jason lost his life on August 30, 2014.
Jason’s family decided that they were going to see that no other veteran suffered like Jason. They worked to change the way veterans with mental health and addiction issues were treated, not only at the Tomah VA, but across the entire VA health care system. Working with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Seantor Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) and Congressman Gus Bilrakus (R-FL) they crafted the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act or “Jason’s Law” which was signed into law on June 22, 2016. Jason’s Law is transformative in reforming the VA’s opioid prescribing practices and puts in place stronger oversight and accountability for the care they are providing our veterans. There is more work to do, but the family is proud of this tremendous bipartisan accomplishment for our nations veterans.
The consequences of addiction are far reaching. It isn’t just the veteran that is impacted, but their family, their community and our country. That is why the Jason Simcakoski Foundation exists. Together, we provide recreational services to veterans and their families to keep them engaged and active in their communities when they return home.