LARCHWOOD, IA (KELO) — Many veterans and first responders put their own lives on the line to help others.
This weekend, there’s a way for you to help them.
An Iowa business is gearing up for a Poker Run with all the proceeds going to Hero Haven.
The Sport Center in Larchwood, Iowa is hosting a non-traditional poker run this weekend.
“We are having what we call the side-by-side poker run, our off-road poker run. However, we’re welcoming any vehicles. The more poker hands, the better. We just want to get people out to support Hero Haven,” said Bar Manager Becky Majeres.
Hero Haven raises money to send veterans and first responders on outdoor adventures.
“We believe that by getting these men and women who served our country together in an environment that they just feel like they always want to be in, but rarely can be in, that good things happen and it helps give them a reason to keep moving on forward,” said President and Co-Founder of Hero Haven Wade Blomgren.
Wade Blomgren served in Iraq in 2005. In 2019, one of his friends whom he served with was in danger of hurting himself. That’s when Blomgren and others stepped in to get him help.
“On the back end of that he came to me and said ‘How do we help more guys not get to where I was?’ and the idea was born ‘Well, let’s just get them out on a pheasant hunt’,” said Blomgren.
From there, the program took off.
“We started in 2020 with one pheasant hunt, 46 guys, and we just had overwhelming interest from people in different parts of the country, whether it’s, you know, regionally here in the upper midwest, or Wisconsin, Montana, all the way down to Florida. So this year we’re going to have 10 events in seven different states and have just a little over 100 heroes we take out on an adventure,” said Blomgren.
Veteran Ned Hodgson, whose idea it was for this event to sponsor Hero Haven, also went on one of the adventures.
“The veterans will actually be able to talk to each other, you know, and whether it’s over a meal that’s furnished or catching a fish or going on a snowmobile adventure. It’s very therapeutic. And that’s the real unique thing about Hero Haven is they provide this great experience outdoors, that maybe some veterans don’t have the chance to do,” said Lyon County Veteran Service Officer Ned Hodgson.
The Poker Run starts Saturday at noon.
For more information on the poker run, click here.
For more information on Hero Haven, click here.