TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Marine Corporal, Karl Snyder’s time helping fellow servicemembers didn’t end once his time in the military came to a close.

In the Topeka VA Cantina, you’ll find Karl working to connect fellow veterans through the Veteran Supply shop.

His appreciation for helping fellow servicemen started in California four decades ago, where Snyder served as a Mountain Warfare Training Instructor.

“I focused on repelling and mountain warfare procedures, pack mules,” Snyder said. “We trained a group of Marine’s that went with pack mules to Honduras back in the early 70’s. From there, I was back to Camp Pendleton as a Sniper instructor.” 

Karl’s duties weren’t limited to training.

“Because of my background with recon, they sent me to Saigon in 75 to work with the evacuation of the embassy,” he said. “That was my overseas experience.” 

When he ended his service in a post Vietnam War era, Karl’s welcome home was anything but.

“Going back, being in California and having to take the ridicule and everything you did, you couldn’t wear your uniform,” Snyder said. “It was a little different.” 

Knowing other vets had similar experiences helped influence his Veteran Supply business he started with his daughter, with a focus on military rings, patches, medals, honor vests and more.

“Going back to the Vietnam era, they discarded a lot of their stuff because nobody respected the military when they came out,” he said. “Now they’re wanting to do shadow boxes and things for their grandkids, so we do a lot of that.”  

Helping veterans connect through patches or bomber jackets that Karl supplies has been incredibly rewarding for the Marine.

“That’s what you see when they’re walking through the street or walking anywhere else, it’s designed so that another veteran sees that and says hey I was in Bridgeport or I was in Danang or Saigon, and they strike up a conversation,” Snyder said. “To see them come together and talk, when those WWII or Korean guys come in it brings tears to my eyes when I talk to them, because they don’t talk. But they come in here, they talk. It’s the best thing for them. It’s pretty rewarding.”

You can catch up with Karl in the Topeka VA or visit his shop American Patriotic Supply in Southwest Topeka.