Shafts of fading sunlight beamed on a patch of woods in rural Carlyle as family and friends gathered Monday afternoon to remember the late Brennan Schroeder of Bartelso.
Whispering Pines of Clinton County, a wilderness retreat owned by Carl and Taylor Becker, also of Bartelso, was the site of the dedication of a deer blind, for use by disabled hunters, in Schroeder's honor.
Schroeder, 32, died on March 24, in Campbell County, Tennessee, in a side-by-side accident.
Schroeder was co-owner of Carl's Four-Wheel Drive and Performance Center and Kapp Trailer Sales and Service, both in Bartelso.
He was also an avid outdoorsman and hunter, and was chairman of the hunting committee of the Jared Burke Foundation of Bartelso.
Whispering Pines of Clinton County, the former Camp Joy Boy Scout camp, is located at 10700 Camp Joy Road, south of Carlyle.
About 30 people attended the dedication, set on Whispering Pines' property to the south of the main land.
The blind was set on the property in July, under the guidance of Allen Beckmann of Beckmann Concrete Forms, Inc.
Beckmann and employees Gerald "PeeWee" Huelsmann and Joe Holtgrave donated their time and materials toward getting the concrete pad poured.
Mark Kreke assisted on the project behind the scenes, and Beckmann and his wife Laura, Robert, Randy Malone, Rhett Malone and Joe Blanchard helped set up the blind.
The blind was made by Ambush Outdoor Products and came from D and T Land Management in Moscow Mills, Missouri. It was donated by Brad "BJ" Robert.
The blind's interior walls are covered with a fabric and the windows are slightly tinted and offer near 360-degree visibility.
The blind is tall enough to comfortably accomodate people about six feet tall.
An etched plaque, made of gray slate, will hang in the blind with a message of dedication to Schroeder.
The plaque was crafted by Chuck Cooley, owner of Illusion River Engraving of Breese.
John Burke, founder of the Jared Burke Foundation, stood next to fellow hunter Dillon Albers, reading from the plaque: "Brennan, we definitely lost a very big part of our lives, with you going before us all."
Dillon Albers, who's also a handicapped hunter, was seated in a tracked chair, which makes accessing hard-to-get-to hunting areas easier for disabled hunters.
Burke said he, along with those who had the pleasure of meeting Schroeder, "will forever have a void that cannot be filled."
Burke continued: "The insight, knowledge, care and compassion you exhibited in your daily life is a testament to your integrity and character."
Burke said Schroeder "was always the person to roll up his sleeves and get to work on anything that needed done."
Burke said it meant a lot to the foundation's members.
"We lost a big piece of us, with Brennan" and his passing.
Burke's completion of the reading of the plaque was met with a round of applause.
Burke shared a story of Schroeder and the foundation, and how Schroeder came across the track chair for sale at an auction.
During the auction in the town Hamilton — 45 minutes or so near where Burke hunts — Schroeder wanted to know if he should bid on the chair, and how much he should pay for it.
Burke said Schroeder knew about them, how much they cost and what he should bid.
Schroeder called Burke half an hour later to tell him he bought the chair for $2,900.
Burke said they normally cost over $11,000.
"Man, that was a deal!" Burke told Schroeder.
Burke mentioned that Schroder got to hunt using the track chair, killing some turkeys with Dave Mahlandt.
Albers has also used the track chair. And he was the first to use Brennan's blind and harvest a deer.
Speaking on what the blind means, Burke said "It's for the people that can't do."
He said Brennan was always "could do."
Burke said he uses Schroeder as an example in times when people say they can't.
He called Schroeder an inspiration to everyone.
"He's always behind us, there's no doubt," Burke said.
The blind was scheduled to see some action this week: Jim Koch of Albers was going to be there during the week and John Cavaletto of Centralia was going to hunt there on Saturday.