February 27, 2021

Annual “Hunting with Heroes” brings 400+ to banquet: Part I

Hunting with Heroes Lakota, IA

L to R: Bernie Becker, Sgt. Joshua Barber, Lance Corporal Carl Pope Jr., Gunnery Sgt. Benjamin Brodt, Staff Sgt. Justin Keiser, and Jason Becker.

From the moment Lance Corporal Carl Pope Jr., Sergeant Joshua Barber, Staff Sergeant Justin Keiser, and Gunnery Sergeant Benjamin Brodt stepped off the airplane at Des Moines International Airport on Friday, Nov. 9, they were treated to Iowan hospitality second to none.

“All of us have trouble with crowds. As we came down the escalator (at the Des Moines International Airport) it was awesome, but at the same time, overwhelming – overwhelming in a good way, but still overwhelming,” said Keiser.

The Maries are members of the Wounded Warrior Battalion (East) of Camp Lejeune, N.C., and were in Iowa to participate in Lakota’s second annual Hunting with Heroes event from Friday to Monday, Nov. 12.

The celebration began as the four entered the airport; more than 20 Patriot Guard Riders provided an aisle of flags for the Marines. Riders came from all over Iowa in response to an email requesting the honor guard.

The Marines were welcomed by a contingent of Marines from the Des Moines unit. Also honoring the men was Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. Both Brandstad and Reynolds stayed for the celebration of the Marine Corps 237th birthday.

Hunting with Heroes is the brainchild of Bernie and Jason Becker. With the support of area businesses, community leaders and organizations, the Beckers were able to honor four Marines in 2011, bringing them from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to Lakota, where they spent the weekend hunting.

Hunting with Heroes Lakota, IA

The four Marines participating in the Hunting with Heroes event were greeted at the Des Moines International Airport by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds (left) and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

“As long as there are wounded Marines who want to hunt, and as long as the community continues to support this, I can’t imagine not doing this,” said Jason.

From donated trucks for transport and homes for the Marines to stay in to a complete hunting wardrobe and brand new shotgun to keep, the list of people and businesses supporting the event is enormous, culminating with a banquet honoring veterans both past and present on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Part II of the story will be posted Tuesday, November 20th.


MaxYield Cooperative is a proud supporter of the Hunting with Heroes event. In 2012 we provided alfalfa and crop protection products for the hunting grounds plus financial support for the event.

Photos and story courtesy of Mindy Baker, Algona Upper Des Moines


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