Daines Honors Montanan of the Week: Dale Hankins of Chouteau County

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today recognized Dale Hankins of Chouteau County for volunteering countless hours in support of his fellow veterans.

Through his “Montanan of the Week” initiative, each week Daines will highlight a Montanan by submitting a statement of recognition in the official Congressional Record, the document that reflects the official proceedings of Congress.

Daines welcomes anyone to nominate fellow Montanans for Daines’ “Montanan of the Week” program by calling Daines’ office at 202-224-2651 or by filling out the contact form on Daines’ website: HERE.

The following is a statement submitted to the Congressional Record:  


Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, this week I have the honor of recognizing Dale Hankins of Chouteau County for volunteering countless hours to support his fellow veterans.

When Dale was 10 years old, a friend of his father, a WWII vet, carried a diamond willow cane. Dale was so intrigued by the way the diamonds stood out, he couldn’t take his eyes off of it. At the age of 17, he made his first attempt at carving a cane, and soon realized and appreciated the effort it took to create such beautiful craftsmanship. By the time he finished, his hands were so full of blisters he decided to pursue other hobbies.

Dale later joined the United States Army and served in Charlie Company, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, as an Airborne Infantry Soldier. After receiving his honorable discharge, he returned to Montana and joined the Montana Army National Guard. Having a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices veterans give, he picked up his hobby again in 2007 and began making Diamond Willow canes for disabled veterans. Each one is unique and personalized for the veteran, and an American Flag is included on the handle of each cane.

Dale hasn’t stopped since. He invests 80 hours or more to make each cane beautiful and durable, all at no cost to the veteran. Veterans across the nation from Florida to Washington are proudly using his gift which has aided in their quality of life. 

It is my honor to recognize Dale for his efforts to support and appreciate our heroes for the sacrifices they have made for our great nation. The compassion and commitment of these extraordinary veterans are an inspiration to us all.