About Us

Leslie VanDerau

Founder

Leslie served in the Marine Corps Reserve, as a Combat Engineer from 2003-2009 with a deployment to Iraq for OIF II in 2004.

When Leslie came out of the military she had years worth of anxiety, bad habits and vices, including a dependence on alcohol.

Being outdoors, and fishing specifically, helped Leslie overcome these troubles.

If it involved fishing or hunting, she was doing it!

That’s when, she decided, if finding therapy in the outdoors was helping her cope, it had to be doing so for other Veterans.

This inspired her to begin an Instagram page titled Heroes Outdoor Therapy. She received messages and began featuring other Veterans that were enjoying the outdoors.

But she did not stop there, she wanted to research smaller, not as known, non profits and Veteran friendly outfitters or charters.

Upon doing some research and speaking with these resources, Leslie was seeing a problematic trend. Nearly all, were willing to help accommodate a Veteran once on site, however, travel expenses were not covered.

Then the light bulb hit! She was going to resolve, if not, help relieve some of this problem.

Leslie wants Heroes Outdoor Therapy to be the go to for other non profits to have Veteran travel expenses covered. This way, Veterans do not have to stick to what they can afford or what is locally resourced, but have a country wide outdoor outlet!!

For those non profits that initially did pay for travel fees; This would open up their monetary resources and allow them to allocate that money for helping more Veterans!

Through Heroes Outdoor Therapy Leslie is able to pass along the passion that saved her, to other Veterans, in a similar situation.

Leslie wants Heroes Outdoor Therapy to be that vessel that will transport them outside, both figuratively and literally, and much like herself, help Veterans find therapy in the outdoors.

Troy VanDerau

Co Founder

Troy became a U.S. Marine in 1991, serving until 1997. During his time as a Marine he was assigned to Marine Barracks 8th & I and 3rd Battalion 1st Marines.

He grew up enjoying daily benefits of the outdoors with is family and friends. To Troy this was a way of life.

It wasn’t until his adult years, that Troy realized how the outdoors had a therapeutic effect on himself and those who took time to enjoy it.

Troy considers his primary therapy catfishing. Through catfishing, he has met and fished with some amazing people, and looks forward to much more adventures.

Troy considers it an honor to be a part of  Heroes Outdoor Therapy. Not only by serving his fellow Veterans, but also, helping them find therapy in the outdoors.

Patrick Beck

Angler Program Coordinator

Patrick became appointed Angler Program Coordinator in the Fall of 2018.

A Veteran, Patrick dedicated 6 years of his life in the Army from 1998-2001 and 2007-2010. Patrick served as a 12B Combat Engineer and completed a tour in Afghanistan from 2009-2009.

Currently, Patrick resides in Yorkville, Illinois. He is an avid fishermen, a member of national angling team, Team Rollin Flatties, and most recently Co Director of tournament series Monsters on the Fox.

Additionally, Patrick is a proud father of four beautiful daughters.

Our Vision

To maximize the opportunity for HEROES to participate in OUTDOOR recreational functions through the provision of financial and logistical support; to enhance the discovery of camaraderie in the outdoors as THERAPY for those who have served our country.