Advancing Heroes Fund

“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” - Brodi Ashton, Everneath

Jeffrey John Vrlik
Jeffrey John Vrlik

The Advancing Heroes Fund at the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) was established in the loving memory of Jeffrey John Vrlik who died at the age of 54.

The fund is dedicated to furthering the education of Emergency Medical Technicians in the Valley community that Jeff loved.

The Vrlik family started this fund to support the educational growth of Valley Emergency Medical personnel, including advanced training should they wish to transition from EMT to Paramedic or even to pursue a degree in Nursing. For Jeff, nursing was a calling, not just a career, and as a second-career nurse, answering the call was a financial challenge. The Vrlik family hopes to help ease that struggle for others.

Jeff was a kind and generous dedicated family man, said Kathie Vrlik, his wife of 29 years. “Jeff was so proud of his children from the moment they were born and gave each of them their names,” Kathie said. “He loved them unconditionally.”

Along with the deep love for his wife and children -- Kellen, Aidan and Kyla -- Jeff was passionate about taking care of others. He was a beloved nurse at Griffin Hospital’s ICU and in the Emergency Department of the VA Hospital in West Haven.

Along with his world-class nursing skills, his friends and family say he had an amazing bedside manner, with an extraordinary ability to lift the spirits of patients and fellow practitioners alike with a joke, a hug or even words of wisdom.

Jeff was also a skilled potter, an enthusiastic traveler, and a long-time player of Dungeons & Dragons. He loved the adventure, camaraderie and storytelling that is so strongly featured in the game.

“Jeff loved everyone, and everyone loved him,” Kathie said. “The world lost one of the best when he was called away and we will only understand why when we meet him again.”

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Advancing Heroes Fund