Local hunters support veterans
Hides for Heroes raises funds for Wounded Warriors
By Angie Landsverk
Area deer hunters helped raise $7,533 for a nonprofit organization that takes Purple Heart recipients hunting and fishing.
Hides for Heroes raised the funds for the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation.
The foundation is a national nonprofit that provides outdoor sporting activities for Purple Heart recipients who were wounded in combat.
Hides for Heroes involves collecting deer hides, salting them and then selling the hides when the market is right.
Local resident Dave Hintz started it a few years ago, after learning about the foundation and its work.
He works at Waupaca Foundry, and the foundry provides the salt for the hides, he said.
The $7,533 donation for the foundation was presented to Matt Tennessen on Aug. 22, at Neuville Motors.
Tennessen is involved in the foundation.
The presentation took place at Neuville Motors, because it provided Hintz with a truck to collect the hides.
He had the truck from late last October until the beginning of January.
Also helping with this past hunting season’s effort was Rachel Walters, who lives in Ripon.
When she heard about what Hintz was doing, she wanted to bring it to Fond du Lac County.
In her first year, Walters collected about 200 hides from six locations in that county.
“It’s awesome to see other vets get helped in the same way I got helped,” said Tennessen.
Tennessen became involved in the organization after he went on a turkey hunting trip himself in 2012 through the foundation.
The experience helped him heal.
Tennessen served in Afghanistan from November 2008 to November 2009, after joining the Wisconsin National Guard in 2006.
He was wounded from an IED blast and had numerous surgeries.
His involvement in the foundation resulted in him meeting Hintz at an event in Phillips.
When Hintz learned about the foundation, he had an idea about how he could help raise money for it.
For a number of years, he had been placing boxes throughout the area for hunters to drop their deer hides.
He then salted and sold them to raise funds for various programs at Iola-Scandinavia High School, where his children were students.
His youngest child was a senior in high school when he met Tennessen.
Hintz wanted to keep giving back in some way.
That was the beginning of Hides for Heroes.
Since starting the effort in 2013, Hides for Heroes has raised $35,000 for Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation.
The amount raised from this past season is down from the prior year, when $10,000 was raised.
That is the highest amount Hides for Heroes raised to date for the foundation.
“The hide price dropped,” Hintz said in regard to this past season.
The foundation pays 100 percent of the costs associated with the trips, including travel, equipment, hunting licenses and lodging.
The money raised through Hides for Heroes stays in Wisconsin to support hunting and fishing trips for Purple Heart recipients.
Tennessen said going on such a trip helped him.
“The support means a lot,” he said.