Opportunity to win tracked wheelchair for greater accessibility to outdoor recreation.
A special state parks centennial edition of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors’ annual David Pollie Classic essay contest, sponsored by the Wendell and Doris Rogers Foundation, is now open for entries. MiOFO will award a tracked wheelchair to a person who has a medical need for this type of device and who has no other means of obtaining it.
The contest is named after David Pollie, who was injured in his youth and became paralyzed. His standard wheelchairs limited his ability to enjoy one of his greatest pleasures – time spent outdoors hunting with his brother.
To help get him back outdoors with his independence, Pollie’s family started a fundraiser to purchase a tracked wheelchair. His friends and family raised half the money needed but fell short of their goal and contacted the local media to help raise awareness of his need. An anonymous donor, moved by Pollie’s story, donated the remaining money needed for the chair.
“Sadly, Dave left this earth, but he lived his days to the fullest, and we are proud to have known him,” said Tom Jones, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors project coordinator. “It is in this spirit of giving and with great respect to Dave and his family that MiOFO will provide a tracked wheelchair to an individual with this same love of life spent outdoors.”
Tracked wheelchairs, also called track chairs, are battery-powered and can go off-road, handling trails, sand, snow and up to 8 inches of water. The Department of Natural Resources has track chairs, donated by Kali’s Cure for Paralysis Foundation, available for visitors at Belle Isle Park, Maybury State Park, Muskegon State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Waterloo Recreation Area.
Track chairs also are available for use, by reservation, at Sharonville State Game Area in Jackson County to provide visitors of all abilities opportunities to enjoy hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing and fishing.
2019 marks the centennial of Michigan state parks, and partnering with Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors on this year’s contest – featuring a centennial-edition track chair – is one of the many ways the DNR has been celebrating this milestone.
“This campaign has focused on celebrating the memories made in state parks for 100 years,” said Maia Turek, engagement specialist for the DNR. “As we look toward the next 100 years, there is a strong focus on making Michigan’s natural resources available for people of all abilities to enjoy. The Dave Pollie Classic makes this possible, creating an opportunity to adventure with independence.”
Contest entry details:
- To enter the contest, participants must submit a one-page essay or two-minute video, along with an entry form. Contest entries should be submitted to email@example.com.
- The entry form and complete contest rules can be found at MiOFO.org.
- The essay or video should detail the reasons why the contest entrant deserves the tracked wheelchair. The essay may be written by friends, family, teachers, classmates or contest entrants themselves.
- Only one contest entry may be submitted per person.
- Entries will be accepted through Oct. 15.
- The winner will be notified around Nov. 15.
Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors is a cooperative partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Eisenhower Center, Garmin, The Union Sportsman’s Alliance, and the UAW Ford Ramp Team. Its mission is to provide improved outdoor recreation opportunities for individuals with health challenges and to coordinate a support network that facilitates their recovery through connecting with nature. To learn more, visit MiOFO.org.