Healing at English River Outfitters (HERO) take ownership of new Odes dessert cross 3 seat 800 side-by-side
Rod Courtney, volunteer executive director at Healing at English River Outfitters (HERO) near Washington, Iowa, smiles as he accepts a key from Jacki Bolen, American Legion Auxiliary Fifth District President, on Sunday, July 9 in Barnes City. Bolen held a fundraiser for the HERO organization on March 17 in Deep River, raising nearly $30,000 to purchase a new handicap accessible Odes dessert cross 3 seat 800 side-by-side all-purpose vehicle, behind them, loaded with hunting and fishing accessories, which was given to Courtney and the HERO organization. Joining in on the key presentation were Dustin Peterson, vice president of the HERO board at left, and Mike Berry, president emeritus at HERO on the right.
By J.O. Parker
Rod Courtney, volunteer executive director of Healing at English River Outfitters (HERO) organization, was wearing a smile as big as his heart is for veterans during a special presentation on Sunday, July 9.
It was that day in Barnes City in front of the Longhorn Saloon that Jacki Bolen, American Legion Auxiliary Fifth District President, handed the keys to a new handicap accessible Odes dessert cross 3 seat 800 side-by-side all-purpose vehicle loaded with hunting and fishing accessories to the veterans organization.
Joining Courtney during the presentation were HERO board members, American Legion and Auxiliary members and many friends who came to show their support for the work of the HERO organization.
The vehicle was the result of a HERO event fundraiser held on March 17 in Deep River that raised approximately $30,000. The event included food, music, a raffle and live auction.
Donations came from the American Legion family (legion, auxiliary, sons of the American legion), businesses and individuals from across Poweshiek and the surrounding counties. The side-by-side unit was purchased from Fun Valleys Motorsports near Montezuma.
Bolen organized and hosted the event as part of her fifth district presidential duties. She is required to have a project that benefits a veteran’s organization. She heard about the work that Courtney and his wife, Debbie, where doing for veterans at HERO, and thought she could make a difference.
“I liked their mission so I reached out to them to see what they needed,” Bolen said in an earlier interview.
HERO was founded in 2008 by the now late Chuck “Bowtie” Geertz who served a total of 23 years in the military, retiring as a Sargent First Class with the National Guard. Geertz died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in August 2019.
HERO is located on the eastern edge of Sockum Ridge near Washington, Iowa. At the foundation of the organization lies the belief that there is healing in nature. The organization’s motto is “From the battlefields to the healing fields.”
Since its founding, the organization has helped more than 400 veterans and their families. The organization facilitates an outdoor experience where veterans and their families can hunt, fish, and hike the trails and woodlands surrounding the lodge.
“We put an emphasis on accommodating veterans with disabilities, both seen and unseen,” noted Courtney in an earlier interview.
Courtney said having the Odes dessert cross is a plus for the HERO organization, adding that it will be used to transport veterans around the property and also as a means for maintenance and the groundskeeper, with the use of a dump trailer, to keep the hiking trails clear from debris and take care of the 33-acres housing the organization.
“This is a day that I will look back on fondly for years to come,” said Courtney at the key presentation. “It’s been a day of being on the receiving end of pure appreciation for the sacrifices our veterans have made and support for the HEROES mission of providing a positive outdoor experience for veterans that may not have had an opportunity. This side-by-side will be an absolute game changer at the HERO Lodge by providing us with a means to get our veterans in and out of the field safely. We are beyond grateful.”
“It was so heartwarming to see the excitement that this project created,” added Bolen. “It brought so many people together to reach the goal. I could never thank everyone enough for helping me make this happen. I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people.”