Department of Natural Resources
Sept. 12, 2019
|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.
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:
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.
Learn more about accessible recreation opportunities at Michigan.gov/DNRAccessibility.