Through the end of June, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors (MiOFO) is holding its inaugural David Pollie Classic essay contest. MiOFO will award an Action Trackchair – an all-terrain wheelchair that helps those with mobility challenges enjoy the outdoors – to one contest winner who has the medical need for this type of device and no other means of obtaining it.
The contest is named for David Pollie, who was injured in his youth and became paralyzed, but never lost his zest for life or his love of the outdoors.
"David had an amazing family, who supported him and loved him. Together they overcame many obstacles, all with a smile on their faces and mutual admiration in their hearts,” said Tom Jones, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors project coordinator. “Aided by his beautiful service dog, Emmy Lou, and a host of lifelong buddies, Dave lived his life to its fullest despite his limitations.”
Pollie’s standard wheelchairs limited his ability to enjoy one of his greatest pleasures – time spent outdoors hunting with his brother. To get Dave back outdoors with his independence, his family started a fundraiser to purchase a Trackchair. 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 Trackchair.
“Sadly, Dave left this earth, but he lived his days to the fullest, and we are proud to have known him. He had a spark in his eye and a smile on his face that we all miss, but will never forget,” said Jones. “It is in this spirit of giving and with great respect to Dave and his family that MiOFO will provide an Action Trackchair to someone else with this same love of life spent outdoors hunting, fishing or simply enjoying nature.”
To enter the contest, participants must submit a one-page essay or a two-minute video along with an entry form. The essay or video should detail the reasons why the contest entrant deserves the tracked wheelchair. The essay may be written by friends, family, colleagues or the contest entrants themselves. The contest is open to Michigan residents only, and only one entry may be submitted per person.
The entry form and complete contest rules can be found at www.miofo.org. Essays and videos will be accepted June 1 through June 30. The winner will be notified Sept. 1. Entries can be submitted online, and videos should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors is a cooperative partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Eisenhower Center, Camp Liberty, Passing Along the Heritage Foundation, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, Safari Club International Foundation, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Disabled American Veterans, Michigan Outdoor Mobility and more. 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 www.miofo.org.