LEETONIA, Ohio (WKBN) – For the last four years, the Leetonia Sportsman’s Association has donated an all-terrain wheelchair to a disabled veteran. Saturday was the Sportsman’s Association’s annual Ironman Clay Bird Shoot, which serves as the biggest fundraiser for the wheelchair.
These all-terrain wheelchairs are designed to take you where an everyday wheelchair and scooter cannot. And they are not cheap. They cost around $12,000-$15,000.
The donation will soon make it easier for a veteran from Salem to enjoy some of his favorite hobbies.
“I can still go fishing and stuff like this, but it’s a lot harder to get around and find a spot on the lake,” Joe Gibson said. “And even just hiking in the woods — things like that — this chair’s gonna make it so I can do that.”
A car wreck seven-and-a-half years ago broke Gibson’s back. He became a paraplegic. However, that accident did not take away the Marine Corp veteran’s love for the outdoors.
In just a few months, Gibson’s all-terrain wheelchair will be ready.
Terry Dear from Toronto, Ohio received the chair last year. He served seven years in the Army and has used a wheelchair for the last five.
“I mean, anywhere you can go, I can go,” Dear said. “Just getting around a lot, I mean, because terrain is hard to get around in a wheelchair.”
The chair is made by Trac Fab — a company from Slippery Rock. It makes gas and electric powered chairs, which come equipped with headlights, a fishing rod holder and a lot more accessories.
The Ironman Clay Bird Shoot, along with donations, makes it possible for the Leetonia Sportman’s Association to give one of these chairs away.
“One of our members saw one of these chairs down in Columbus,” said Jim Eckman of the Leetonia Sportsman’s Association. “And he brought it back and brought it to the executive board. We said we want to align ourselves with this. We think we can do great things.”
A little more background on the all-terrain chairs, the max speed is seven miles per hour for the gas powered one and five miles per hour for the electric. Trac Fab says the chair can be used for hunting, hiking trails, yard work and snowy days.