Waupaca man collects deer hides to help wounded warriors

Dave Hintz pours salt on deer hides donated to Hides for Heroes
Dave Hintz pours salt on deer hides donated to Hides for Heroes

WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – A Waupaca County man is using his love of hunting to help veterans.

Every few days, Dave Hintz visits deer hide collection boxes he’s placed throughout the Waupaca–Weyauwega areas. It’s all part of the Hides for Heroes project he started four years ago, that benefits Wounded Warriors in Action.

According to Hintz, “I met a guy named Matt Tennesseen up in Phillips and he’s an Iraqi vet, and he’s a Purple Heart recipient, and he told me about Wounded Warriors in Action, and I had to figure out a way I can help. I’ve been doing the hide collection for many years, and I thought I’m going to start putting my hides towards Wounded Warriors in Action.”

Several of the collection boxes are outside of Hintz’s employer, Waupaca Foundry. The company has a population of 11% veterans working in its facilities, so naturally it was excited to help raise funds for veterans programs.

Kirk Kallio is the director of human resources at Waupaca Foundry. He says, “It feels great. Veterans, they’re awesome. They give us our freedom, our liberty to do the things that we’re doing.”

After collecting the hides, Hintz cures them with salt. Then, early next year, after the hunting season is over, the dried hides are sold through a broker with all the proceeds being donated to Wounded Warriors in Action. The organization funds outdoor sporting activities for wounded warriors at Camp Hackett near Phillips in the northwoods of Wisconsin.

“They go musky fishing, grouse hunting, they take them deer hunting so it’s what’s called non-medical healing for these guys, Purple Heart guys that come in,” says Hintz.

Since 2012, Hides for Heroes has raised about $15,000. According to Hintz, from Wisconsin, the hides go to Pennsylvania and then are sold and turned into goods. He says, “My last year’s hides went to Italy for fine purses and boots. So, it’s kind of interesting. It’s interesting where they go.”

But more importantly to Hintz, is the opportunity for healing the hides provide for wounded warriors, adding, “My dad was a veteran in Korea. My brothers retired in the Army. I didn’t, it’s my way of giving back. It’s hard work, but at the end of the day it’s pretty gratifying what the end result is.”