Supporting troops in a unique way

Eye on KELOLAND

Renner is not a very big town and neither is this local meat locker. But it’s made a big impression on our military men and women.

Dean Sorum has run this family owned meat locker for over 50 years. His specialty, beef jerky.

He and his workers make a lot of it, every day. In fact, he processes, dries and smokes 750 pounds of it every week.

But he doesn’t sell all of it.

“I loved giving it away to the soldiers, they earn every bit of that,” Sorum said.

That’s right, every year, Sorum donates bags of his specially seasoned jerky to our troops overseas.

“Like the other day a parent picked up 15 lbs to send to their son and of course once it gets over there they all love it so much, they just dig in and it’s gone, then pretty soon I get letters back, can you make some more of that,” Sorum said.

So he does.

Anyone who has ever been in the military and stationed away from home knows getting a care package in the mail is a morale booster, especially when it contains some of Dean’s beef jerky.

“You can’t hang onto it long, it’s gone quick,”

Retired Sergeant Major Darold Diede served in the South Dakota National Guard. He’s been on the receiving end of some of Dean’s jerky while stationed overseas.

“When I was deployed in ’09 over in Kuwait we got care packages my wife and the in-laws sent them over and one of the big favorites was the beef jerky, every time I’d get a care package, ‘Diede you got anymore jerky,’ so it was well received,” Diede said.

Diede, who was a top ranking enlisted man, even surprised the Kuwaitis at one of his high level military meetings.

“I took some of that beef jerky with me and they thought that was amazing, they had never heard of it before, they were like how do you eat dried meat they liked it as well,” Diede said.

So now sending the troops stationed overseas some of Dean’s beef jerky has become a military tradition for this meat locker.

Diede says South Dakota soldiers who are currently deployed to the Middle East will soon find that out.

“So we sent them 15 lbs and probably in another three months or so we will send another 15 lbs, they don’t know it yet but we’re going to do the same thing,” Diede said.

Serving those who serve our country one stick of jerky at a time.

“The support from this community is unbelievable,” Diede said.

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