MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Gone is the old and into the new – a veteran who fought in the Gulf War has received a new pair of wheels.
U.S. Army veteran Ervin Mulkey was surprised Tuesday in Madison by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Property Loss Specialist (PLS) with a new $15,000 all-terrain wheelchair. The Action Trackchair provides accessibility for participation in adaptive sports, hunting and fishing, the agencies explained.
PLS donor and president Jeff Nachreiner said he was inspired by seeing this action done by someone else more than a decade ago.
“I challenge companies. I challenge neighborhoods, individuals to do the same,” Nachreiner said. “These veterans gave their all for us and this is just one small step we can take to give them the life they deserve.”
Mulkey is paralyzed from the waist down and says that although his disease is progressive, this wheelchair will give him more freedom.
“More freedom, more freedom, more freedom – you know I can go places I couldn’t go,” Mulkey said. “I served during Desert Storm – I actually got into ’87 right after graduating. I was injured during Desert Storm and was paralyzed for 13 months from the waist down. Thankfully, I was able to regain some function in my right leg, but I was still in a wheelchair.
Mulkey says he’s grateful for his new wheels and had some issues after the war, but was helped by his physical therapist and ACP. He explained that he had been blocked before and couldn’t call anyone because his phone was dead. The Action Trackchair can be used in all weather conditions and has space to charge a phone.
“I know they’ve been there for quite a while. It’s also a sealed unit, so they can go through, like I said, different weather climates,” Nachreiner said. “They can clear snow “, they can go hunting, hiking with their kids. It allows you to go to many places they can’t go and this chair is a game changer.”
The veteran’s first mission will head to the hill next to his house to test out his new chair.
“I want to go up the hill next to my house,” Mulkey said. “I’ve looked at this hill for the last nine years that I’ve lived on it and I’ve never been able to climb it and you know without help or something.”
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