U.S. Marine Corps veteran Joe Lewellyn served for one year in Vietnam –– 1968 –– long enough for him to be exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide and chemical defoliant used extensively to clear jungle foilage. The chemical exposure led to the loss of one of his legs several years ago.
Llewellyn was outfitted with a motorized wheel chair, but he could no longer pursue his hobbies of hunting and fishing because of its terrain limitations. Although he regularly rode his motorized wheelchair around Joseph, becoming a familiar sight to the community, he thought his days in the woods were over.
Then he saw an Action TrackChair on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show and other places. The chairs are essentially all-terrain vehicles mounted with a set of tracks, similar to a bulldozer, instead of wheel. The tracks allow the occupant to travel over steep and uneven ground.
Unfortunately, Llewellyn found the chairs were priced in the $15,000 range, far out of his reach.
Through a friend, he met Katherine Stickroth, who has a keen interest in helping veterans. When the two met, Llewellyn mentioned he’d like to own a TrackChair. Stickroth googled the chair on her laptop and even found a nonprofit called the “Independence Fund,” which helps purchase the chairs for vets with limited financial means. For Stickroth, the process was relatively easy.
“I found the Independence Fund online and went over the application with Joe,” she said. “I asked him: ‘Do you want to apply now?’ He said, ‘sure.’”
After scanning in the