Waupaca Foundry Employee Creates Hides 4 Heros to Benefit Veterans

At times all it takes is determination and one person to change the world and that’s just what Waupaca Foundry employee Dave Hintz is doing—one deer hide at a time.

Dave started a unique partnership called Hides 4 Heroes to support veterans through the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation. During the Wisconsin bow and gun deer seasons, Hintz sets up hide collection locations throughout the Northeastern, Central and Northern Wisconsin region. He volunteers his time to collect and cure the hides, then sells them to a broker. The funds raised are donated to Camp Hackett near Phillips, Wisconsin where veterans participate in outdoor sporting activities designed to help heal mental and physical wounds from active duty.

A box is overflowing with deer hides during last year's deer hunting season. Photo supplied by Dave Hintz.

Since 2012, he has donated $14,000 through his Hides 4 Heroes project thanks to a partnership with Waupaca Foundry and regional hunters. In 2015, Hintz collected 780 deer hides from harvests throughout Wisconsin and this year, he hopes to break records.

Hintz was inspired to support veterans when he met Matt Tennessen while hunting in northern Wisconsin. Tennessen was wounded in 2009 from an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan and his stories of recovery impressed Hintz who decided to get involved.

“I wanted to give back,” Hintz said. “When Matt told me his story and how the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation helped veterans, I knew this was something I could do. Most guys throw their hides away, and I knew they could be useful.” A life-long hunter, Hintz had a side business of butchering deer during the hunting season and knew there was a market for cured hides. Last year, many of the hides he collected ended up in Italy and were used to make boots and purses.

Hintz contacted his employer, Waupaca Foundry, to help with the project. The foundry donated collection boxes and the nearly 2,000 pounds of salt Hintz uses to cure the hides each season. Hintz has worked at Waupaca Foundry for 27 years and said the company’s support is gratifying.

Dave Hintz (far right) presents $6,500 to Matt Tennessen (far left) for Wounded Warriors in Action on behalf of Hides for Heroes, General Beer and Waupaca Foundry. In 2015 and 2016, $11,800 has been donated to Wounded Warriors In Action. Photo supplied by Dave Hintz.

Waupaca Foundry has a history of supporting veteran’s causes and in 2015 was awarded the Patriot Award for employer support of the National Guard or Reserve. About 11% of the foundry’s workforce are veterans and many of the skills learned on active duty directly apply on the job, according to Joey Leonard, executive vice president of human resources.

“Veterans put direct experience in leadership, responsibility, teamwork and many other attributes to work for us daily and we are honored to support causes that support veterans,” he said.

Hintz will be collecting deer hides through January 13, 2017 and hides may be dropped off at these participating locations:
Waupaca Foundry, 406 N. Division St., Waupaca
Waupaca Foundry, 1955 Brunner Drive, Waupaca
Chain BP, King
JR's Sports Shop, Iola
Depo Street Station, Iola
Scandy "C" Store, Scandinavia
Sand Burr Corners, Ogdensburg
Waupaca Truck Stop, Waupaca
The Cenex, Weyauwega
Sun Set BP, Weyauwega
Machow Sports, Wild Rose
Badger Sports Center, Phillips
Elk River Rods, Phillips
Corner Connection Bar, Phillips