For the past three years, we’ve been fortunate to help give back in a small way to the men and women who serve our country.
One of our clients, the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM), had a simple but genuine idea a few years back: They wanted to collect common items most people take for granted and deliver them to wounded soldiers recovering at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland during the annual Police Week convention in Washington DC. We at TM were quick to get on board because we too frequently forget the profound sacrifices the men and women who serve our country make on a daily basis. The Walter Reed Drive quickly transcended the typical client-agency relationship; we found ourselves not merely servicing our client’s needs but actually becoming personally and emotionally invested in a lot of levels. It became something the entire office wanted to see succeed and expand, much the same way people support charities near and dear to them.
Slowly this has happened and each year the Drive has grown. This past year there was an outpouring of support and the 2013 Drive surpassed expectations, thanks to the support of many generous individuals. This allowed POAM to look to help a wounded veteran closer to home. POAM has introduced a few years ago to the Action Trackchair, which is an all-terrain wheelchair that enables peoples to enjoy the outdoor activities they otherwise would not be able to. Since that introduction, the idea of being able to give one of these Action Trackchairs has percolated. Thanks in part to the success of the 2013 Walter Reed Benevolent Donation Drive and the generosity of some additional donors, POAM had funding in hand to purchase an Action Trackchair.
With the money taken care of, POAM put out a word to their extended network for a candidate to receive the chair. It didn’t take long for POAM to receive a pretty convincing vote for Vietnam Veteran named Nels “Skeeter” Larsen. Nels, who still has ailments due to exposure to Agent Orange from his service in Vietnam, also runs Walleye for Warriors (WFW), which coordinates several fishing outings free of charge for disabled veterans.
So we had the chair and the recipient, now all we needed to do was tell him!
August 23rd – an absolutely picture perfect day – a carefully choreographed plan came together to surprise Nels with his new, customized Action Trackchair. An array of folks from local media, to the Midland Honor Guard to POAM representatives as well as family and friends congregated in the parking lot of Pat & Jerry’s restaurant in Midland, Michigan. An unsuspecting Nels emerged from the restaurant to be greeted by the crowd and his new Action Trackchair. We at TM were honored as part of this remarkable day and we’re grateful we were in a position to help in some small way. It feels good to pay it forward every once in a while.