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Honoring Our Veterans

Published on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Air Force. Army. Coast Guard. Marine Corps. Navy. Because of the courageous men and women from these five branches of military, we as Americans, have the ability to live lives of freedom. For that, we are sincerely grateful.

Many of our country’s veterans are also farmers or involved in agriculture. In honor of Veterans Day, we wanted to share the stories of Beck’s customers and employees that have served our country through the military, and at home on the farm.

Dave Schweitzer – Dresden, OH
U.S. Army, Vietnam War

Dave Schweitzer (68) was born and raised on the farm. After high school, he got a job in a factory and farmed on the side. A year later, Dave was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent 16 months in Vietnam as part of the 20th combat engineers division attached to the 4th division infantry, and later a squad leader.

When he came back, he started working right away and said it was the best thing he could have done to re-adjust to civilian life.

“I saw a lot of things I don’t like talking about, but that was just part of it” Dave explained. “After six weeks in a combat zone, it becomes a way of life. It’s a big adjustment coming back. I was fortunate because I had a job where I could work seven days a week. I would work on the farm, then work at the factory until 11 p.m. I did that for about two months straight.”

Dave continued to work and farm until 1995 when he retired to farm full time. He enjoys the challenge of farming and learning about new techniques and products. In looking back on his time of service, he says it was a good life experience and is thankful for his upbringing on the farm.

“I can understand where people with a lot of idle time could struggle after coming back,” Dave added. “I am very thankful to have had my job and farm to come back to.”

Ervin Neyhouse – Princeton, IN
U.S. Army, Korean War (Purple Heart Recipient)

Ervin Neyhouse (85) was in the U.S. Army in 1952-53, serving in Korea on the 48th parallel. His team had to make nightly patrols up Pork Chop Hill and across Heart-Break Ridge to make contact with the enemy. During his service, Ervin was wounded by a hand-grenade and received a Purple Heart. To this day, he still suffers the effects from shrapnel still left in his knee, ears and even gums.

“When I was discharged, I returned to farming, and took GI classes at night,” Ervin said. “I felt lucky to have my life spared while others, who I had become friends with, were not returning with me. I appreciated my family and friends more, and also felt proud that I had served my country.”

Ervin has lived on his farm for 59 years and liked working the land, trying out new equipment, chemicals, and seeds to improve yields. His son, Don now farms their 600 acres, with Ervin and his other son, Daniel helping him part-time.

“I am now semi-retired and enjoying each day, and proud to be a Veteran.” – Ervin Neyhouse

David Donovan – Beck’s Technical Support Specialist - U.S. Marine Corps., Gulf War
Gavin Rulon – Beck’s Data and Development Lead – U.S. Marine Corps., Gulf War

(L) Gavin Rulon, (R) David Donovan

David Donovan of Knoxville, TN served in the Marine Corps from 1982 to 1994. In 1990, he was involved in the Gulf War as the Assistant Communications Chief for the 1st Radio Battalion. This unit was responsible for intelligence and classified communications to the Commanding General for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

It was during the Gulf War that David met Gavin Rulon of Cicero, IN. Gavin was a Lance Corporal at the time and David was Gavin’s Sergeant. They quickly became a great team, and great friends as well. They served together in active warfare for about eight months.

“I learned a lot in the Marine Corps, but it shaped my leadership most of all,” Gavin said. “I picked up a lot of my leadership skills from Donovan, especially the importance of taking care of your team. My father was really good at taking care of his employees too, but I didn’t realize how good until I got out of the service. I credit Donovan for helping me see that.”

After getting of the service in 1993, Gavin returned home to Arcadia, IN and worked on his family’s hog farm, went to college, and began working at Beck’s. By using many of the skills he learned in his time of service, Gavin has helped develop many of Beck’s data software programs over the last 22 years and now serves as Beck’s Data and Development Lead.

David got out of active duty in 1992 and continued to serve in the reserves for two more years. Unfortunately, his time after leaving active duty was a difficult one, as he lost his grandfather, father and mother within four years of each other. But he continued to push forward and do whatever was necessary to provide for his three year old son. Over the next several years, he worked in a steel shop, Radio Shack, and was a TV producer. From 2003 to 2007, he went back over to Iraq as a civilian to be the head communications officer for all of Iraq during the second Iraq War.

Over the years, David and Gavin continued to keep in touch. In the 1990s, David worked freelance for Beck’s by helping build some of our first websites. In April of 2015, David started with Beck’s full time and now is a Technical Support Specialist in our Information Systems department.

“The Marine Corps basically defined my life, David explained. “It set the principles in place that I’ve lived on since then. It took a shy, high school kid and opened my eyes up to the world and what I was capable of. I’m very thankful for that.”



These men are just a few examples of the many veterans within the Beck’s family of employees, dealers and customers. Learn about some of the other veterans we interviewed on our Honoring Our Veterans photo album on Facebook. If you’d like a veteran to be featured, post them on our Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter or Instagram and we’ll add them to the album.

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Chelsea O'Brien
Chelsea O'Brien>

Chelsea O'Brien

Beck's Hybrids marketing associate, social media specialist, southern Indiana native and advocate of agriculture.

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