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All-terrain wheelchairs help people enjoy the outdoors

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Getting outside is big in the Badger State, but it's not always easy for those with mobility challenges; that's where outdoor wheelchairs come in.

There's one at the VFW in Vilas County.

"It goes in the sand, the trails, and dirt and mud. It's housed in a trailer. We keep it plugged in so it's always charged," Gail Newitt, Bar Manager at the VFW said. "You can take it hunting."

The outdoor wheelchairs are free to use.

"All people need to do is put in a reservation, put a small deposit, when they return the chair in the same or better condition, they get their deposit back," Monica Spaeni, President and Founder of Access Ability Wisconsin said. "They can also choose to donate their deposit."

While the VFW in Vilas County is currently the only host in our area, officials are working to expand.

"Access Ability Wisconsin is looking for a host in Marathon County because we are serving 12 counties right now and we would love to have a county that's in the middle of the state," Spaeni said.

They say the need is here, but the solution isn't quite ready.

"We have consumers that have tried to reserve chairs that actually live and reside in the middle of the state, and they have to drive a ways to go either north, south, east, or west. We welcome an outside organization to become a host," Spaeni said.

Their ultimate goal is to reach the whole state.

"To have one chair in every county of Wisconsin so that all people can enjoy can enjoy the great outdoors," Spaeni said.

Jade Henschel

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