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Benefit celebrates passion for outdoors

WILLMAR -- Friends and family of Adam Hoeskstra would agree: this is the way he would have wanted to do this.

A little more than a year after his death, a benefit was held July 23 in honor of Hoekstra with the proceeds going to Ducks Unlimited's Living Lakes Initiative, and more specifically, the Olson Lake project near Raymond.

About 75-100 people attended the event at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Willmar.

It's how "Hook" would have done it.

Adam Hoekstra died July 10, 2009, at the age of 23 from myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle usually caused by infection. The New London-Spicer graduate had been a regional director for Ducks Unlimited.

His father, Lloyd, said Adam's love of the outdoors led directly to his involvement in DU.

"He has always been interested in hunting. He would go hunting with me and with his friends. It was just a passion for him," Lloyd Hoekstra said. "When he found out there was an organization that was promoting wildlife and ducks in particular, he was into it.

"He started a DU chapter in college (North Dakota State University) and he got a passion for fundraising, as well."

The idea of a benefit came from his co-workers at Ducks Unlimited. Lloyd Hoekstra said he and his wife, Deb, were touched by the gesture.

"We were very taken back that they would honor Adam that way," he said. "We were very appreciative. Ducks Unlimited was his life. He would be very thankful that they did that for him."

The Olson Lake project began in 2008 with a drawdown of the once-popular waterfowl lake. Located just east of Raymond, Olson Lake was emptied to remove the rough fish that had destroyed the aquatic vegetation and allow for the vegetation to re-emerge. The heavy spring rains this year have allowed more water back into the lake.