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Giving back to Fort Dodge

Beck admits that when others need help: ‘I can't say no’

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Jerry Beck, of Fort Dodge, has served the community in a variety of roles that include his involvement in the Iowa Games, Pheasants Forever and as a volunteer at the Paula J. Beber Hospice Home.

Jerry Beck has been a Fort Dodge resident for most of his life, and giving back to his community is high on his priority list.

Beck spends most of his time volunteering for a number of groups in town and enjoys every chance he can get to help out.

“I’ve seen the ups and downs of Fort Dodge, and there is a lot of good things going on in this town,” Beck said. “If you can give anything back to your community, it’s well worth the effort.

“You just have to look at the positives.”

Helping out is something that Beck enjoys doing, plus he has a hard time saying no.

“I get a lot of calls about doing things and at my age and being retired, if it’s something I have time to do, I’ll do it,” Beck said. “I have just always felt if you’re going to be in a group, you should be active.”

Beck has numerous groups he spends his time with, including Pheasants Forever, where he has been involved since 1990. He is currently the banquet chairman and treasurer.

“I was invited to one of their banquets in 1990, and I enjoyed the theme and what they were doing,” Beck said. “I became the president in 1992 and held that position until 1997.

“Our chapter started in 1985. Basically, we raise money at our annual banquet for funding for habitats and youth projects. Since 1985 we have put over one and a quarter million dollars into habitat-related things.”

Beck is also proud that Pheasants Forever gives back to students.

“Every year we give two $1,000 scholarships to two graduates of Webster County,” Beck said. “Our group tries to get a hold of schools and create a worthwhile thing for the youth.”

This was supposed to be the 35th anniversary for the Pheasants Forever Banquet, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been postponed.

“There are over 149,000 members in the United States, and we are the only group that has a unique way of funding, in that every dollar raised, except for membership fees, stays in the county,” Beck said. “Our board makes decisions and not the national board.”

Beck is also a volunteer for Hospice, a position that he holds dearly to his heart.

“My mother was out there for two and a half months before she passed away,” Beck said. “They took great care of her and it was something I always remembered. I thought this was a neat way to give back, so I contacted Mary Larson and went through the training. I’ve done this for about 10 years.

“Every Wednesday I go to the Hospice house, greeting people and doing anything they need. Periodically I will visit a patient in their home. I’ll run errands for them and sometimes just talk to them. It’s very fulfilling and validates everything.”

For the past 14 years, Beck has been a board member of the Webster County Conservation Commission.

There he basically takes care of conservation projects that take place and the money that is dispersed. He also works with Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgrove.

Along the lines of conservation, Beck is also a board member and treasurer for the Friends of Webster County.

“I started 15 or 16 years ago to raise funds and assist any way I can,” Beck said. “I help with projects that they can’t fund through normal budgetary means. We’ve helped with the purchase of things for Camp Wanoki and helped buy items that they couldn’t within the normal budget.”

Along with all his committee work, Beck is an essential helper at his church, First United Methodist.

“I’ve been on the finance committee, board of trustees, chairman of pastor parish relations and I do bank deposits every week,” Beck said. “I also help with the Sidewalk Sunday School program.

“I do anything and everything that they want me to do. I can’t say no.”

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