Local military family continues in tradition and dedication
BY: Catherine Miller | May 23, 2013
SOUTH BUFFALO - Max Kendzierski returned home safely to Buffalo after his station in France with the US Army during the First World War. A few short years later as he held his young son Edwin in his arms he didn’t realize that he was holding the beginning of future generations of military men that would honor their country and the Kendzierski name.
As a young man, Edwin saw the opportunity to serve his country during the Second World War as both an honor and a duty. Young Kendzierski joined the army as part of a family tradition and mindset that put country before self. Edwin Kendzierski served in both England and Germany as a medical technician during WWII. At home in Buffalo after the war it wasn’t long before Edwin was at an American Legion Post enjoying time with friends that he met a beautiful young lady, Irene, who herself had served in the military as an administrative clerk during the war. Edwin and Irene hit it off and were soon married.
Edwin and Irene Kendzierski gave birth to a son, Paul, whose initial intent as a young man was to become a priest. He was educated at St. John Vianney Seminary, but somewhere that road took a turn. Upon graduation Paul worked for a few years in a civilian capacity and then, feeling the red, white and blue blood flowing through his veins, he joined the Air Force Reserves. Lt. Col. Paul Kendzierski continued with the United States Air Force reserves from 1975 to 2006, serving most of his career of over 30 years with the 914th Airlift Wing, based out of the Niagara Falls Air Force Station. During this time he met and married Kim Dobrzenski, who herself came from a military family; her father, Chester Dobrzenski, having served as a Combat Infantryman with the 76th Division in the US Army in Europe during WWII.
With the union of Paul and Kim Kendzierski came two sons, Jason and Andrew. In the early years the family moved from the east side of Buffalo to the South Buffalo area, where the brothers were active in scouting at the direction of their father who served as scout master. Jason and Andrew attended school at Bishop Timon St. Jude High School. They continued on to college in the local area, having each received ROTC scholarships, thus making the fourth generation of Kendzierski men to be military bound. Since then they have made both their families and their community proud.
Jason Kendzierski graduated from Niagara University and enlisted with the Army in 2004. He continued his education while serving in the army and received a master’s degree in Information Technology. Commissioned as an Army Signal Corps expert, Captain Jason Kendzierski has served one tour in Iraq with the 7th Signal Brigade and two tours in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division. While deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Southern Afghanistan, Jason served as the Company Commander of C Company, providing tactical communications support to American Armed Forces, including the Combat Aviation Brigade in Regional Command South. Dedicated to the global war on terrorism, Captain Jason Kendzierski is currently the Aide to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe in Belgium.
Andrew Kendzierski enlisted with the US Army in 2007 and is a Commissioned Army Armor-Cavalry Officer. Although presently stateside serving as a Troop Commander at Fort Bliss, Lt. Andrew Kendzierski, the younger of the Kendzierski brothers, has served two tours in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division. Tasked with delivering humanitarian aid boxes to mosques in various areas of Iraq to be distributed to the local families, 2nd Lt. Kendzierski would travel into unstable areas of the region, to help those in need. The humanitarian boxes, filled with rice, water, soaps and essentials, were delivered by Kendzierski and his troop to the community leaders at the mosques who would in turn deliver them to the under-fortunate in the area. Although a volatile area at the time of his mission, 2nd Lt. Andrew Kendzierski would tell his parents that he felt great that he was helping people that needed and deserved his help. Now stateside, Kendzierski serves as a Troop Commander at Ft. Bliss pending his next tour abroad.
The Kendzierski family demonstrates that love of country and honor of duty rises above other callings and becomes not a way of life, but the way of life for some families. Showing that military separation doesn’t mean that the family is separated Lt. Col. Paul Kendzierski’s retirement ceremony in 2006 was especially meaningful as the then Lt. Jason Kendzierski, was able to be in attendance via video teleconference, even though he was deployed to Iraq at the time.
“With computers and the internet my sons can go online and do whatever they would do if they were in town,” acknowledges mother Kim Kendzierski, noting that even though her sons are away they never miss a birthday or Mother’s Day, and her South Buffalo home is often adorned in floral bouquets or edible arrangements sent from her servicemen.
When asking Kim Kendzierski if she worries about her sons as the serve in unpredictable areas of the world, she firmly admits that it doesn’t help to worry.
“It won’t change anything if I worry,” she says with a thoughtful smile, “When I feel like I should worry I light a candle, say a prayer, and send a care package. There have been many care packages sent,” she admits.
The Kendzierski family truly personifies the words of General George S. Patton, that “The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” For nearly 100 years each generation of the Kendzierski family has served their country with honor and dignity.
The care packages being sent to Jason and Andrew are likely to continue, as both sons seem content in their current careers with the United States Army. The pride emanating from parents Paul and Kim Kendzierski as they speak of their sons’ positions and duties warms the room, and with good reason. We, as neighbors and friends, are fortunate to have such a principled family in the armed forces representing Western New York, and to have such fine young men, and others like them, standing guard and watching over our freedom and safety.