September 18, 2013 | 09:13 AM
Hero Reward, a retreat for U.S. servicemen and women, had its second late summer/fall event Sept. 7 to honor those who have served the country in some capacity, raise awareness for the program and to dedicate a new handicap-accessible cabin.
Founder Rodney Bruce said more than 400 people attended the event, up about 100 from last year.
"Our sponsors have nearly tripled in 2013, helping pave the way for a long future of honoring America's heroes," Bruce said.
Matthew Chandler, an active Army soldier, shows off his large catch from one of the ponds on the property of Hero Reward. (Photo submitted) (click for larger version)
Special guests included Ron and Amy from the TrueTV television show "Lizard Lick Towing," Big Daddy Tray from Spikes' television show "Ink Masters," MMA fighter Shonie Carter and American Gladiator Cobra.
Air Evac helicopter, which is generally stationed at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon, flew in for all to view and tour and Rolling Thunder Chapter 3 attended as well.
Many guests took to the two ponds to fish, with some catching catfish weighing in at more than 35 pounds.
Linda Dennis, a Gold Star Mother (mother of a fallen service member), was also on hand. Bruce said he plans to work with Dennis in the future to provide a retreat for Gold Star Mothers.
The newly-completed handicap-accessible cabin was made possible by a donation from Ford Motor Co. and United Autoworkers of $100,000 ($60,000 for the construction and $40,000 worth of volunteer work to help build it).
Five new families or events signed up for a Hero Reward retreat from the event.
Firefighters, police officers and all members and veterans of the armed services are welcome to Hero Reward, where they can overcome trauma, injury and stress from service to their country. Visitors can fish, hike, hunt, ride four-wheelers or horses, skeet shoot and more.
The 200-acres of mainly wooded hills is located at 873 Walnut Valley Road west of Corydon.
If interested in volunteering or donating to the program, contact Bruce at 267-4555, heroreward.com or by e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.