Quaker Oats Employees Lead Efforts to Revitalize IVH Baseball Field | News, Sports, Jobs


TR PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY An effort is underway to rebuild and renovate the baseball field at the Iowa Veterans Home with Brooks Dechant of Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids leading the way.

One of the favorite things about Iowa Veterans Home Commander Matthew Peterson is hearing from individuals and local businesses who approach him with a simple question: How can we help?

Brooks Dechant, a Navy veteran from the Cedar Rapids area who works for Quaker Oats, is one such person, and although he said he has no strong personal connection to IVH other than the fact that he himself is a veteran, he wanted to help other vets however he could.

Through Quaker’s Valor Group, which assists with various veteran-related causes and has funded several eastern Iowa honor flights, Dechant is leading efforts to rebuild and revitalize the ball diamond on the IVH campus. According to Dechant, the group has raised funds for IVH in the past, but none of the members had been there until recently.

“This year we just decided to go up there, meet them and see what it’s all about,” he said. “Matt (Peterson) showed us around, gave us a presentation, talked about the rich history and tradition, and it was just amazing. It’s right in our backyard, and we didn’t know it. not even – we didn’t know his whole story.

During the meeting, Peterson mentioned how residents have been locked down throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking for more activities now that restrictions are finally easing. From there, he suggested restoring the field to its former glory and hosting Little League games again so residents could be entertained.

When Dechant brought the idea back to Valor, the excitement was overwhelming, as many of the members have young children themselves.

“It was the easiest sell of any initiative we’ve done so far, so we got on board quickly,” Dechant said.

The project itself is still in the early stages of development, but Dechant and Peterson are eager to see what comes out of it. A long-term goal is to hold a major youth tournament on the ground to celebrate the reopening and to pour concrete to give it more of an amphitheater feel.

“As we move beyond the pandemic phase of COVID, I look forward to restoring and revitalizing our relationship with the community. Thanks to the generosity and selflessness of Quaker Oats, our baseball field will be restored and our residents, their families and the Marshalltown community will once again be able to watch baseball games together on our beautiful and historic campus,” said Peterson. . “I cannot overstate the depth of my gratitude to Quaker Oats for their commitment to Iowa veterans, and I am thrilled to welcome the community back to their Iowa Veterans Home.”

Fundraising for the project will be an ongoing task, but Dechant said Valor already has money in reserves that has yet to be allocated. Additionally, some Quaker maintenance staff were able to use their skills in making anti-overhang posts, and the Quaker factory lawn care contractor agreed to donate equipment. field maintenance.

The plan is to have a field day in the future, and Dechant has contacted quarries around Marshalltown for the rock. An order has also been placed for pedestals, a line marker and other equipment.

“The best part about it is when I call these local businesses in Marshalltown, the people I talk to are like, ‘Wow, what a great project. I remember playing Little League baseball there,” Dechant said.

The restoration won’t happen overnight, but Dechant and his team are happy to get the process started while planning fundraisers further into the future, such as a Poker Run in August. And if all goes according to plan, Dechant might even see his nine-year-old son play on the court one day.

“It has become a project that fascinates me,” he says.

Individuals and companies interested in contributing can contact Dechant at [email protected]


Contact Robert Maharry

at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or

[email protected]

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