VGM jeans days` contribution made to injured veteran

The Ralston Family home modification fund is $3,200 larger, thanks to cash raised by VGM Associates during November jeans days.

Waterloo native Ian Ralston, a U.S. Army combat medic, was severely

wounded May 29 in Iraq. The armored vehicle in which he was traveling

struck an improvised explosive device, and shrapnel lodged in his spinal

column at the C2 vertebra. He is quadriplegic.

He has been awarded the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal.

Ian’s recovery has been well-documented in the Waterloo (Iowa) Courier,

and when VGM Associates read about the massive renovation project his

parents have undertaken to prepare the family home for his homecoming in

late December, they wanted to help. For $5, employees could wear jeans

for two days. Many chose to give much more.

Jerry Keiderling, president of the VGM companies Accessible Home

Improvement of America and U.S. Rehab, made the presentation Dec. 1 to

Ian Ralston’s parents, Steve and Sue, at their rural Waterloo home.

Ian is recovering at a VA hospital in Minneapolis, and his parents are hoping he’ll be able to come home before Christmas.

“The folks at VGM are very patriotic and we appreciate our troops’

efforts,” Jerry said as he presented the donation. He also did a

walk-through of the property and made some suggestions about ways to

accommodate a power wheelchair user.

Much of the labor and materials for the farmhouse renovation has been

donated by service organizations, businesses and individual. A fund has

been set up at Veridian Credit Union, 1827 Ansborough Ave., Waterloo,

IA, 50701, to help defray expenses.

“It’s not even the numbers, although they’re huge, but what people have

done is create an environment of hope,” said Steve, a former VGM Forbin


The family plans to honor all those who worked on and donated to the project at a barbecue next summer.