Wisconsin U.S. Army veteran surprised with new all-terrain wheelchair

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 6:12 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Out with the old and in with 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.

Donor and president of PLS Jeff Nachreiner explained that he was inspired by seeing someone else being given a chair on the news a decade before.

“I challenge businesses. I challenge neighborhoods, individuals to do the same thing,” Nachreiner said. “These veterans have given everything for us and this just a small step that we can do to give them the life that they should be deserving of.”

Mulkey is paralyzed from the waist down and said while his disease is progressive, this wheelchair will give him more freedom.

“More freedom, more freedom, more freedom- you know being able to go places that I wasn’t able to go to,” Mulkey said. “I served during Desert Storm—I went in actually in ‘87 right out of graduation. I was hurt during Desert Storm and I was actually paralyzed for 13 months—from the waist down. Luckily, I was able to get some function back in my right leg but was still in a wheelchair.”

Mulkey said he is thankful for his new wheels and that he experienced troubles after the war, but has been helped by his physical therapist and PVA. He explained that he has been stuck before and was unable to call anyone because his phone had died. The Action Trackchair be used during any weather condition and has an area for charging a phone.

“I know they have been around for quite a while. It is a sealed unit too—so they can go through like I said different weather climates,” Nachreiner said. “They can plow snow, they can go hunting, take hikes with their kids. It gets you around lots of places that they are not able to go and this chair is a game changer.”

The veteran’s first mission will be heading up the hill next to house his house to test out his new chair.

“I want to go up the hill next to my house,” Mulkey said. “I have looked up that hill for the last nine years that I lived there and I never been able to go up it and you know without help or something like that.”