January 26, 2021

Brave the Shave: Brian Morey Helps Raise Nearly $5,000 for Children’s Cancer Center

Brian Morey usually doesn’t get a haircut more than once or twice a year. Saying his hair is “thick” is an understatement—although you’d never know it if you saw him after the 4th of July this past summer.

“My buddy Lennie Carkhuff—we call him Bear—is battling pancreatic and liver cancer,” said Morey, a MaxYield Cooperative truck driver from Mallard who jokes he’s a “commodity relocation specialist.” “I said if our friends could raise $1,000 or more to fight cancer, I’d let Bear shave my head.”

The big moment came during A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa’s 2020 Freedom Rally near Algona. When the shears to shave Morey’s head during the opening ceremony didn’t arrive on time, Morey’s friends rustled up a cattle trimmer and handed it to Bear.

“It was terrible,” Morey said of the haircut itself. “The good thing is that we were able to donate $4,999 to the cancer center at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.”

Here are five other things you may not know about Morey, who has worked for MaxYield for 30 years:

  1. MOREY STAYS CLOSE TO HIS FARM ROOTS

Morey grew up 5 miles west of West Bend, where his family raised hogs, cattle, corn and soybeans. Morey enjoyed working outside and fixing everything from bicycles to motorcycles, tractors and trucks. “I would have liked to have been a farmer but I didn’t have that opportunity,” said Morey, 1984 graduate of West Bend High School. He studied automotive repair at Iowa Lakes Community College. Jobs were tough to come by in rural Iowa during those Farm Crisis years. After a brief stint working at a packing plant in Storm Lake, Morey worked with with Bleuer Construction for four years before landing a job at West Bend Elevator Company in 1990. “I’ve enjoyed getting to build a career in my hometown,” he said.

  1. WORKING AT THE CO-OP OFFERS OPPORTUNITY

When Morey started working at the co-op in West Bend, he was in the grain division. He also spent 20 weeks a year working in the soybean processing plant. “We sold fish cake to places in Louisiana,” said Morey, who noted that a big customer included the Landry family, who rose to fame through the popular “Swamp People” series on the History Channel. Today, Morey hauls grain and fertilizer in MaxYield’s central region in the spring and fall. He also hauls equipment like Trackmobiles, as needed. “You tell me what you want done, and I’ll give you the best service I can.”

  1. MOREY LIKES HIS WIDE-OPEN SPACES

Morey enjoys spending time outdoors, from deer hunting to motorcycling. He started riding a Yahama 50 at age 5. He grew up to be a Honda guy but says his “banker” (his wife, Melissa) wanted him to drive a Harley-Davidson. “It has cruise control,” explained Melissa, speaking of the couple’s Ultra Classic. The couple sometimes travels with a small group of other riders. They also enjoy longer rides, including a late summer 2020 trip to Pikes Peak State Park near McGregor, Iowa. “All the twists and turns of the road by the Mississippi River are interesting,” Morey said. “We like seeing the woods and hills.”

  1. MOREY AND HIS FAMILY ARE ACTIVE IN A.B.A.T.E.

Morey (right) with Bear at the 2020 A.B.A.T.E. Freedom Rally in Algona.

Morey joined A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (A.B.A.T.E.) after attending the group’s Freedom Rally near Algona in 2002. “This is a political and educational organization and supports all freedoms for U.S. citizens,” Morey said. “We believe you should have choices, rather than the government telling you what to do.” A.B.A.T.E. offers many educational programs related to motorcycle riding, including Share the Road, which is taught in every drivers’ education program in Iowa, a statewide motorcycle-rider education program, a returning rider class (“to break you of your bad habits,” Morey said), and a new trike class. “A lot of people buy the wrong bike, just because it looks cool or they want to keep up with the Jones,” Morey said. “We want everyone to enjoy the ride, but do it safely.”

  1. GIVING BACK IS IMPORTANT

Morey has served on the maintenance crew at Freedom Park northeast of Algona since 2009. As soon as the snow melts, he and his fellow volunteers start getting the park ready for the July 4th Freedom Rally. He and his fellow A.B.A.T.E. members also hold a “toy run” motorcycle ride in September to purchase toys for under-privileged kids in a 10-county area of northern Iowa. “We get donations from businesses, plus each person on the run pays $10 and donates a new, unwrapped toy,” said Morey, who noted the event also includes an auction. Depending on the year, the group has raised $7,000 to $20,000 to buy toys. The Moreys also support Bikes for Tykes, which donates bicycles to kids in Webster, Wright, Hamilton and Humboldt counties for Christmas. “It’s nice to be able to give back to more people,” Morey said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian and his wife, Melissa, have been married 32 years and have two grown children.

 

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