Since 2010, Merrill native Joe Ramsey has made it his business to assist those facing challenges in life in exploring mother nature by means of Empowered Dream Hunts Inc., an organization he founded to assure those with challenges, disabilities or illness have an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
“It all started with a boy I met on the mat back who was facing some adversity,” the two-time MHS state champion wrestler explains. “That was back in 2005. It was an experience we enjoyed and will never forget. We decided it was something we wanted to continue and in 2010 we applied for and received our 501(c)(3) credentials.”
On Thursday evening however, Ramsey and his organization which has helped dozens to date, is taking their mission a step further in hosting “Tracking for Success in 2016 & Beyond.”
The purpose of Thursday’s event is to raise awareness of the ‘Action Trackchair™’ as well as funds for the purchase of another track chair, for use by Empowered Dream Hunts recipients.
The Trackchair™ is an all-terrain wheel chair rolling on tracks instead of wheels, specifically designed to afford disabled outdoors enthusiasts the mobility to engage in the outdoor activities they cherish and enjoy.
“One of our recipients first brought up the idea of a Trackchair back in 2012,” Ramsey explains. “We thought it would be a great idea and would provide a great service to our recipients so we looked into it and borrowed one. We then discovered how amazing these machines are!
“We borrowed a chair from the company on 3-4 occasions and decided we wanted to look into getting one of our own, so we didn’t have to borrow anymore.”
The organization looked into funding sources and soon discovered the Jim Handrick Memorial fund.
Thanks to a considerable donation from the Handrick family in Jim’s memory, Empowered Dream Hunts Inc. was able to purchase an Action Trackchair of their own.
Soon afterward, the organization acquired a trailer for the chair from Scott VanderGeest and Gold Medal Trailer Sales of Merrill.
Even better was the trailer being custom designed by an Empowered Dream Hunts recipient, for use not only to transport the Trackchair but as a hunting blind for disabled hunters.
Thursday’s event kicks off at 5 p.m. at Wausau’s Greenwood Hills Country Club (2002 Poplar Lane).
Tickets will be sold for $40 and will include cash bar and food.
A drawing will be held for door prizes at 6 p.m., followed by a guest speaker and Trackchair demonstration at 6:30. At 7 p.m. various prizes such as a $300 shopping spree, shotgun and various handguns will be given away as part of a larger drawing followed by a 50/50 raffle at 7:30 p.m.
“Our ultimate goal is to educate the public on how amazing these machines are and the benefits they provide to those with disabilities and impairments,” Ramsey adds. “We are also hoping to raise funds, along with a few who have stepped forth to donate already, to buy another chair for us for our dream hunt recipients. We are really looking forward to it!”
The price tag for the chair Ramsey has targeted is an estimated $14,000.