Leslie Gannon is a daughter of a World War II veteran and is glad to be alive.
“I'm lucky to be here because he could have easily died when his plane was shot down, or scarlet fever or the prisoner of war camp,” said Gannon. “I'm proud of my dad and what he did for his country.”
Gannon's father served as a co-pilot in WWII and on his 21st mission the B-24 he was flying was shot down over Austria.
It left her father, 2nd Lieutenant Robert Ahrens, of Jewell, badly burned.
“I think that a lot of men during that generation was pretty quite about their experience and didn't want to talk about it much.
Unfortunately Ahrens died in 1994, but his experience lives, on the back of a 12 ounce Old Legion beer can.
“We feature an Iowa veteran on the back of the can and we give part of our proceeds to local veteran groups,” said Dimitri Makedonsky, owner of Old Legion Brewing Company.
Makedonsky is a veteran himself and came up with Old Legion Brewing Company after restoring the old American Legion building in Ladora.
He says he always wanted to give back to veterans.
Ahrens is featured on the first batch of beer Big Gun Lager, launched in early July.
“It came to light that Leslie's father is a war hero an Iowa veteran. I said, 'Oh my gosh, this is great.' So the more I learned about his story the more I said this is the guy that's got to be on our can when we launched the beer," said Makedonsky. "Honoring both men and women and veterans from all different types of conflicts.”
Makedonsky says the brewing idea was in the works for a while.
“Whatever I can do to get his story out there I think is great,” said Gannon.
The beer is distributed in 44 counties across Iowa, and he hopes to feature more Iowa veterans in the future.
Already the brewery has distributed more than 105,000 cans of beer across the state.
Saturday, January 20 2018 9:37 AM EST2018-01-20 14:37:09 GMT
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