As the sun rises quietly over the Horicon Marsh, U.S. military veterans embark on mud boats powered by Briggs & Stratton commercial engines. Through the crisp autumn air, the Vanguard engines roar to life and grumble over the darkness to escort the veterans to scattered duck blinds.
Their captains? Ryan Voy and Chuck Dodge, who seven years ago launched the Horicon Marsh Veterans Hunt to give veterans a weekend of hunting, home-cooking and camaraderie in one of the best duck-hunting spots in the world.
“We’re so lucky to have the marsh in our backyard, and we can enjoy it daily because of those who sacrifice to protect our freedoms,” Voy said. “We’re driven to serve our vets because we recognize freedom isn’t free. We didn’t want to just ‘talk the talk,’ and it’s through the marsh that we can show our appreciation to our veterans.”
The duo’s relentless push to give back to veterans aligns with Briggs & Stratton’s You.Powered. initiative, which celebrates people’s achievements that impact and inspire others. That’s why the engine and power company has featured them in its latest video, released November 1, and has made a financial and equipment donation to assist their mission.
“You.Powered. is about people using outdoor power equipment to improve the lives of their neighbors and communities – whether that’s with a lawn mower, or in this case, Vanguard mud boat engines from Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power,” said Steve Kruger, director of global brand marketing for Briggs & Stratton. “What Ryan and Chuck are doing is so selfless, turning their passion for the Horicon Marsh into an amazing weekend for our military veterans. It’s a privilege to power their boats and share their story with the world.”
The Horicon Marsh Veterans Hunt brings together veterans from each branch of the military and set an attendance record at this year’s event Oct. 21-23. The organization relies exclusively on donations and volunteers to fulfill their mission to honor and serve veterans. To make the event a success, dozens of volunteers, primarily from Horicon, Wis., donate their time and resources each year. To support the Horicon Marsh Veterans Hunt, visit the GoFundMe page.
- Lawns & Life Lessons – Rodney Smith Jr. started a nonprofit lawn service that mows grass free of charge for the elderly, people with disabilities and single moms.
- Tools for Change – Robin Berry stepped up and helped create a free tool lending library for her community, helping neighbors avoid fines.
- Restoring Ridgewood – This nonprofit organization has pressure washed graffiti off 6,000-plus buildings in Queens, N.Y.
Along with driving awareness for each organization, Briggs & Stratton makes financial and equipment donations to each person or group it features to spur fundraising efforts.
“From mowing lawns for single mothers to fighting graffiti, people are doing extraordinary things for no other reason than to improve their communities,” Kruger said. “We can help bring attention to these amazing people to support their missions, and that’s what You.Powered. is all about.”