2019 Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Opener in Austin: Disabled Veteran Hunt kicks off event

About two dozen veterans came out to the morning hunt.

Posted: Oct 11, 2019 5:57 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 10:27 AM

LEROY, Minn. - The Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener kicked off on Friday morning with a Disabled Veterans Hunt. 

After fueling up with a hot breakfast at the American Legion in Austin, about two dozen veterans took a bus down to LeRoy to flush out some birds. 

One of the hunters is Vietnam War veteran, Roland Hanson. He said he's experiencing the disabling effects of Agent Orange, the dangerous chemical used during The Vietnam War. 

"It works a lot on your nervous system and a lot of people are getting different effects from the Agent Orange," Roland said. 

His twin brother, Ron Hanson, is also a Vietnam War Veteran. 

"We were just out of high school, and drafted, and we were our national security," Ron said. 

Ron is now a commander with the Disabled American Veterans, or DAV. Retired service members can't always participate in events like they once did, but Ron said this event gives them a chance. 

"It makes them mobile again, it makes them part of the group, which is very important. We can't just let them sit. We have to get them up and moving," he said. 

For the Hanson brothers and the other veterans, this is about more than wearing orange and getting birds. It's about getting together and being reminded they are not alone. 

"If you talk about it, it eases some of the pain still way in the back," Roland said. 

"You get quite a bond from the different personnel when you're in a combat zone. It's something different every veteran knows is there," Ron said. 

The hunt took place at Three Arrows Hunting Preserve. After lunch, the veterans had a Quilt of Valor presentation. 

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