Langenfeld Foundation Honors American Hero

Kyle and his brothrWhen America's finest join the military service, sacrifice is implied. But when that sacrifice is realized—especially great sacrifice—it deserves a great “Thank you.” To express this (symbolically to all of our veterans who now must live with disabilities) one U.S. Marine, wounded in Iraq, was chosen to go on an African Safari August 11-19, 2009.

Lance Corporal Kyle Anderson was the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Champion in 2003, the year he graduated. He could have received a scholarship to any university in the country, but instead followed in his grandfather's footsteps and joined the Marines. He was sent to Iraq and involved in fierce firefights during the “Battle for Fallujah,”at one point helping save the life of his wounded commanding officer. One week later, another enemy attack sent metal shards through his helmet and into his brain.

Gallery of Kyle's Hunt!

Kyle is an American hero. Through The Langenfeld Foundation's, partnership with Minnesota SCI (Safari Club International) this hero went to South Africa on the trip of a lifetime. How this trip came about is quite a story in itself: The safari package for four hunters was originally donated by Zeekoepan Safaris to a Wisconsin chapter of SCI. Mr. Mark Nelson won the trip in auction as the high bidder. When he could not go, he donated it to The Langenfeld Foundation. Then, when we got an agreement from Ron Schara Enterprises to send along a staff video-journalist to capture the entire trip on camera, for their TV show Minnesota Bound, we partnered with Minnesota SCI with the opportunity to share the television publicity and the cost of a fifth person.

All summer long, The Langenfeld Foundation and Minnesota SCI did fundraisers to help cover the costs of this special trip. (Thank you to each and everyone to contributed to making this a reality.) Our group consisted of five people: Kyle, his father and brother, our video man, and myself. The 50+ hours of travel were long and wearisome. It was hard to sleep on the airplane, and long layovers were even harder. However, one silver lining was that because of Kyle's disabilities, he was allowed to bypass the long airport lines and with no waiting, pre-board the aircraft...a privilege he had already paid for with his own blood.

Once we arrived on the Dark Continent and caught a short flight up to the extreme NE corner of South Africa, to the Kwazulu-Natal region. This was the first visit to Africa for most of our party. Immediately upon leaving the airport, they were surprised and excited to see real monkeys scurrying around the city streets. There were monkeys in the trees, under the bushes, picking at fallen fruits and nuts, or just relaxing in a shady place. Everyone agreed: We're not in Kansas anymore, things are really different here. (Welcome to Africa gentlemen. Welcome to the other side of the world.)

Throughout the trip, Kyle was awed to see rhinos, elephants, giraffes, hippos, kudus, and several different kinds plains game. At night as well, when sitting around the campfire, he could hear the lions roaring in the darkness, on the mountainside across the river. Kyle hunted hard everyday and finally took a young kudu bull—with one shot. He took the animal with no assistance or aid, just a steady rest and good training. Since his injuries, he has had to learn how to shoot left-handed. He learned well and now has a young kudu to show for it. (A generous donation by Taxidermy Unlimited will help preserve the memory of his prize.)

Others in the party were also allowed to take a shot, when a “target of opportunity” presented itself and Kyle did not want the particular animal in front of us. This put more meat on the supper table, more memories for the trip home, and more hunting footage for the TV show Minnesota Bound. (The fees for these animals were either covered by Zeekoepan Safaris or paid out of the hunter's own pocket.) The additional animals taken were: warthog; ostrich; impala; zebra; nyala. And “Yes,” we really did eat zebra meat. Barbecued over an open pit-grill, the marinaded tenderloins were about the best wild-game meat we have ever tasted.

Things that made this trip so memorable were all the wonderful African meals made from the game taken during the hunts, including Kyle's kudu (which was delicious.) Everything we hunted was eaten, either by ourselves or the local natives. Even the bones and innards were donated to the Zulu peoples. Absolutely everything of the animals was used. Nothing was left behind except their breath.

The group also found an ostrich egg lying out in the middle of nowhere. Our outfitter showed us just how tough these eggs are; by standing on top of it. That egg fed the whole group for breakfast. We also watched elephants at a waterhole; drinking, dusting, and challenging each other for dominance.

We even visited the Phenyane School, where the grades K-8 children sang wonderful African songs for us and performed native dances. (I took the opportunity to ask the children to raise their hands if they knew where America was—lots of hands went up. Then I couldn't resist asking if they knew who Brett Favre was—no hands.)

The group experienced all of the “Big Five” (leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino, and elephant) to one degree or another. In addition to the above mentioned encounters, we sat in a waterhole blind as a herd of 6-8 cape buffaloes came in to drink.

A number of times we came upon a rhino, as we drove through the bushveld looking for hunting game. We were safe enough in the Land Cruisers and kept their distance, but managed to get great photos and video of the events. On another morning, leopard tracks were found in the soft dust along the side of the road leading to the camp. All of this made for a very exciting week of safari.

Kyle Anderson is an American Hero, as are all disabled veterans, and deserving of our respect and honor. Thanks to those groups that helped make this “Thank you” possible.

(The entire safari trip with daily reports and photos, and more information about the organizations involved, can be found on their websites:;;;;