As a young boy, Blake Henkle knew he wanted to be a U.S. Marine, and a law enforcement officer.

He achieved the Marine dream first, joining the service after high school and becoming a staff sergeant who shared his story of service in the Middle East with Vinton-Shellsburg students during a Veterans Day in 2005. His Marine unit served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He had joined the Marines in 1998, and had been stationed in Australia on Sept. 11, 2001.

Henkle then shared what he and his fellow Marines said to each other as they learned about the terror attacks on NYC and Washington, D.C.

“We decided we would do whatever it took to solve this problem,” he told the students that day in 2005. “Because we were watching over you.”
Henkle returned home after several tours of duty, and after leaving the Marines, began focusing on his second career goal.

The law enforcement dream took place over the past few years, as Henkle became a reserve officer for the Vinton Police Department. He became a full-time Benton County deputy on Jan. 3, 2017, sworn in on the same day as the new Benton County Sheriff, Ron Tippett. He continues to be a part-time officer for the Vinton PD, as well as one of the members of the Vinton Fire Department.

Henkle joined the 2017 Iowa Law Enforcement Academy on May 1, and was elected the President of his class of 38 officers. Local officials say they believe he is the first from the Vinton area to receive that honor.

As President, Henkle had some extra responsibilities. He would oversee the class if there was no staff member present, checking the members’ uniforms and making sure everyone was healthy and that the class stayed in order. He also had a chance to give a speech at the class’s graduation on Aug. 18. He wrote a poem about the days he and the others had shared in classroom, training and physical training exercises. (Click on the image of his speech to read it all).