KIXS 108 and Post Acute Medical join forces to recognize service men and women who have served. We thank them, we salute them, and we honor all who have fought for our freedom. This week we would like to recognize Leo R. Polachek. He was born in 1950 and is an Army Veteran Vietnam. Mr. Polachek served 8yrs in the army from August 19, 1972 to August 1980. Mr. Polachek was a Tech supply Sergeant during his time in the military.Mr. Polachek is a Purple Heart recipient as well as a Silver Star recipient.
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving.The Silver Star Medal, unofficially the Silver Star, is the United States military's third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. The Silver Star Medal is awarded primarily to members of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

Mr. Polachek earned his Purple Heart when he was on a mission in Vietnam to pick up a squad or two from the jungle. He was a gunner on a Chinook Helicopter, and as he lowered the back door to lay cover fire for the incoming troops he saw troops in all directions with bombs and gunfire in all directions, as well. They were suppose to pick up 15 or 16 troops but only picked up 4. As Mr. Polachek laid his cover fire one of the troops needed help to get in the chopper, so Mr. Polechek grabbed him and as he was pulling him into the chopper, he stated he heard the click sound from setting off a claymore mine. He stated you never forget the sound that makes. The claymore mine exploded and blew both men inside the chopper killing the man he was helping and blew a piece of the mine into the neck of Mr. Polachek, and then exited through the back of his neck. During this time of the chopper being on the ground – 5-8min, the chopper took on about 114 rounds of enemy fire.

Mr. Polachek was part of many missions during his time in the military. He stated he was part of a mission called Operation Braveshield. The purpose of the mission was to rescue POW’s from the area. He recalls that on various missions they were able to bring home 9 POW’s. He also recalled how bad these men looked when they found them, but also how grateful the men were to be rescued. Part of Operation Braveshield was also hauling and supplying mechanical equipment that was needed.

Mr. Polachek has been married to Gail Polachek for 30yrs, their anniversary is in May. In a previous marriage Mr. Polachek had a daughter named Misty Lynne Polachek. She passed away at 17yrs of age. She went to go visit her mother in California and she called home to Mr. Polachek missing him and stated that her chest felt tight and was hurting. This was due to her playing with horses – she was allergic to them but liked them as well. Six hours later Mr. Polachek receives a call that she had passed. Misty was a senior in high school when she passed.

Mr. Polochek has two grandkids that he and Gail currently help raise with Gail’s son. They have one grandson, and one granddaughter. They live outside Smiley going towards Yorktown.
Mr. Polochek also spoke about his time in sports. He stated that he was an All American at Wharton Jr. College in 3 sports – Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He got picked up by Southwest Texas State. He stated he loved to hit and was really fast. He literally cracked a few helmets and was hard to catch. He stated he loved sports – “I ate, and slept sports, I loved it, couldn’t get enough.”

Upon leaving the military Mr. Polochek got into construction and eventually became a Safety Manager and eventually retired from this. He worked in Virgin Islands, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, and Nebraska just to name a few. Mr. Polochek did mention that while in Indiana he worked night shift and it would get to 48 below zero at times. He stated he wanted to make sure he never did that again. He also stated that the Indiana natives were not very happy that this southerner was taking jobs from “us northerners”. Mr. Polochek’s response to this was simple – “If you weren’t so dumb us southerners wouldn’t have to come up here to do your job.”

After having the honor and privilege to speak with Mr. Polochek, you can tell he is a very tough man and has been through many trials in his life, but what really comes across, if you listen, is how big his heart is. I can only imagine how spoiled those grandkids are.

During the interview with Mr. Polochek his wife was being taken to Gonzales hospital in an ambulance for health issues. He stated that she has had 3 heart attacks, 2 strokes, a triple bypass, 2 stents put in, has COPD, Type 2 Diabetes and is an acute asthmatic. He was concerned for her and was upset that he could not be with her. They will both be in the hospital away from each other.
Please reach into your heart and ask God to take this family into the palm of His hand. Please continue to send all the prayers and love you can to this family for healing and the opportunity to be together again.

“If she’s on me about something, I know she’s doing good.”