Leighton Hepker and I first met over thirty-five years ago, when he was a young radio broadcaster, and I a young junior high teacher, football coach and high school wrestling coach.
We used to see each other regularly when he was coaching his son Justin’s traveling basketball team against my son Tyler’s when they were in the middle school grades. Leighton was always respectful, knowledgeable, and engaged with his players and his team’s opponents. Later I taught both of his boys, Justin and Adam, social studies in eighth grade.
For many years Leighton helped us with our eighth-grade mock job interview program. He was always so nice and helpful to our students while still being so professional.
Leighton has always been Maquoketa’s ambassador, “Mr. Maquoketa” is how I see him. He’s also been the voice of our local radio station KMAQ for decades. He has a great radio voice. To me he sounds like Brian Anderson, who broadcasts for the Big Ten NCAA basketball tournament, MLB and the Milwaukee Brewers.
I always marveled at how well Leighton got along with his radio partners broadcasting Friday night football games. He always treated his radio guests with kindness, patience, and poise. I think he should get a medal for that. We could call it the “Maquoketa Medal of Valor.” It would be awarded for all of the callers’ complaining he has had to endure on the radio these many years.
Last spring Leighton was kind enough to endorse my new book “Time to Ship Another Steer.” Considering his challenges these past couple of years that was a very kind gesture. I guess that was typical. He has spent his life in the service of others.