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Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin names Zach Zdroik as executive director

The Journal Times - 11/30/2021

Nov. 30—RACINE — The Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin has hired a new executive director. His colleagues have described him as motivated, knowledgeable, passionate and caring.

Zach Zdroik, who had previously been on the organization's Board of Directors for two and a half years, has accepted the new position. He officially began Monday.

Zdroik worked full time as Racine County veterans service officer before taking the position. An Oak Creek resident originally from Milwaukee, Zdroik, 35, said his long-term goal was to work for a veteran nonprofit organization by the time he turned 45, and the spot within VOW opened up.

"I'm 10 years ahead of schedule," he said, laughing. "I wanted to give back in different ways. People here work from the heart and I wanted to be a part of it."

He said he's looking forward to living up to the organization's name, continuing to grow with VOW and taking opportunities to do more. His 11-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter were the biggest motivators in taking the position, he said.

"They're the greatest support group," he said. "They talked me into it. My kids are involved with everything I do."

Zdroik served in the U.S. Marine Corps, four years active service from 2004-2008 and five years reserve from 2009-2014. His enlistment ended while he was a sergeant.

In his new position, he will still focus on veterans' housing and food insecurities, some issues the organization already covers. However, he is planning on adding an additional mental health program with a therapy room. The organization is planning on updating the Quonset hut located next to the marketplace.

VOW operates the tiny home village on Yout Street in Racine, and is moving toward building a new, bigger one in Milwaukee.

"I want to serve the community in the best way possible," Zdroik said. "Whatever the need is, I want to continue to give to that."

He said his previous position as veterans service officer helped him get to know the veteran community in the county and make connections throughout the state. These connections will help him in his new job while forming even more, he said.

He has strong support from the organization's board as well, and he said he wouldn't have even thought about the position if it hadn't been for that backing.

'Couldn't be happier'

Steffane Timm, business coordinator for the organization, worked with Zdroik while he was on the Board of Directors and used him for help while he was veterans service officer, Timm said.

Timm described Zdroik as "very motivated" and "visionary."

"He has a lot of great ideas," Timm said. "He wants to push VOW further than just here, into other areas of Wisconsin, because this needs to expand."

Timm said some goals are to upgrade the veterans marketplace, organize the warehouse and get everything more streamlined. Zdroik will be helping with that, along with a grant from the Racine Community Foundation.

"(Zdroik) is a really positive force; it feels good to be around him," Timm said. "His excitement and his drive is very infectious. I'm excited for the future."

Timm, Zdriok and Michael Rembalski, director of program services, are the three full-time staff members who will be working together. Zdriok described them as "one team." The organization plans to add a full-time director of development within the next month as well.

Rembalski said he's "super excited" and "couldn't be happier" that he gets to work with Zdriok.

"He's very passionate, he's very caring. I've never worked with somebody like him who cares so much," Rembalski said. "He's a very, very nice, kind-hearted guy."

Rembalski is also from Milwaukee and said he's already turned to Zdriok to gain resources from the Racine County area. He's bounced ideas off him.

"He's a fountain of resource information, it's really nice," Rembalski said. "We have a lot of ideas. Everywhere you go, he has plans for something. I'm looking forward to working with Zach."


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