Roosevelt Hunt Honors Military and Helps Fight Cancer

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp
  • 119th Wing Public Affairs
Ten North Dakota Army and Air National Guard members were treated to the upland game bird hunt and social event of a lifetime during the Hunting Dakota with Roosevelt event Oct. 18-19, as a token of thanks for the military members' service in the global war on terrorism. 

Hunting Dakota with Roosevelt is the brainchild of former American Cancer Society staff executive and president of Great Plains Benefit Group Roger Krueger and retired North Dakota Army National Guard Colonel and current North Dakota Game and Fish Department hunter education coordinator Jon Hanson, both of Bismarck. 

The idea was to recognize North Dakota service members for their contribution and sacrifice in the global war on terror and raise awareness and money for the treatment of cancer at the same time, by hosting a special North Dakota wild-bird hunt in the name of Theodore Roosevelt. The hunt would take place on the land that Roosevelt held most cherished - the North Dakota prairie and badlands. 

"This is a way to combine several passions. The passion for defense of our country through the military, hunting, and raising money for the fight against cancer, and having fun doing it," said Hanson. 

Financial donors and sponsors were recruited from North Dakota, Oklahoma and Virginia to make contributions in an effort to fund the hunt on private lands, pay for a banquet at the Bismarck Elks Club to raise awareness and to raise money for cancer treatment and research at the Bismarck Cancer Center. 

Tweed Roosevelt, who is the great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, jumped on board to help the event and participate in the hunt. The direct descendant of our nation's twenty-sixth president is an avid outdoorsman who travels from Massachusetts to North Dakota nearly every fall to partake in the annual hunting season. He seemed to relish the chance to exchange hunting stories about his great-grandfather and help a worthy cause at the same time. 

"When asked if he was a good marksman, Theodore Roosevelt would say 'I don't shoot well, but I shoot often,'" said Tweed Roosevelt as he stood at the end of a North Dakota Conservation Reserve Program field with pheasants flying over-head. 

While Theodore Roosevelt loved to shoot, he was also a pioneer in wildlife conservation. Banquet speaker Jim Posewitz, a renowned author and Montana Department of Wildlife expert, emphasized the importance of maintaining wildlife populations at optimal numbers for the benefit of the species and also for the hunting public. Roosevelt witnessed the near extermination of some wildlife resources due to the commercialization of harvested wildlife and was a key figure in restoring populations and making hunting opportunities available to all people in the United States rather than just the wealthy by creating and setting aside public lands. 

Three cancer survivors and eight financial donors had the opportunity to hunt alongside the ten North Dakota military members, along with ten hunting-dog handlers who assisted the hunters in the field. 

"Good health is a crown that a well man wears, and only the sick can see," said event organizer Roger Krueger. 

Seventy-one year-old cancer survivor Delbert Woodley, of Haynes, N.D., paused in the grassy fields to talk with his fellow hunters about making his daily drive for cancer treatments in Bismarck, which was nearly 300 miles round-trip, for nine weeks.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," said Woodley, who was hunting for the first time since 1974 and is now cancer-free. 

In addition to the banquet Friday night and two days of hunting, the group had a bonfire and barbecue in Medora, N.D., Saturday night, which was only a few miles from the ranch that Theodore Roosevelt lived in during his time in North Dakota. 

"This is a great event -- raising awareness and money for cancer treatment and research, and honoring the military at the same time," said Sgt. Chris Clemens, of the 818th Engineer Company, in Williston, N.D., who served in Iraq with the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion. 

"This surpassed anything we could have hoped for. We honored the military, raised money and awareness for cancer treatment and research. And we had fun doing it with all of the best things that happen around a hunting camp. The military people were outstanding. We were honoring them and they turned around and asked how they can help for next year," added Krueger Everyone involved with the first Hunting Dakota with Roosevelt event agreed that it was a great way to bring two worthy causes together for a weekend of fellowship and hunting in the spirit of United States President Theodore Roosevelt in the very place that he credited with shaping him into the man he was.