'I Still Can't Stop Smiling': Hunter With Cerebral Palsy Gifted ATV Wheelchair After Guides Host Fundraiser
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. (WCCO) -- Hunting season is upon us, but for some people getting to a duck blind or a deer stand isn't that easy. Thanks to some kind-hearted individuals, one hunter who struggles a bit more than others can now enjoy his favorite hobby without as much frustration.
"I just like the fresh air and being out with friends and family," says Lance Tebben of Montevideo. It doesn't matter what kind of hunting it is, Lance is all in. Born with cerebral palsy, he quickly developed a love for the outdoors.
"I've gotten a deer every year I've been out, and last year I got a 14-point buck," he says.
But if there's one thing holding Lance back, it's that his wheelchair wasn't really made for hunting. Guides push him across all kinds of rough terrain. "Just trying to pull Lance in this chair here, it was just really hard. That's why we said, hey, let's try and do something for the kid," says Chuck Ellingson, of Watson Hunting Camp.
So they did.
A fundraiser to raise money for an all-terrain powered wheelchair took off faster than anyone could have imagined. In a short amount of time, people from across the area donated more than $13,000. And on Thursday morning, Lance finally got his new ride.
"Awesome, he had a smile from ear to ear," says Lowell Tebben, Lance's dad.
"I'm thankful to all the people that donated and businesses and everything. Thanks for making this happen for him," adds Pam Tebben, Lance's mom.
"Here we are today delivering a chair to Lance, all based off a dream," declares Nathan Rud of Action Manufacturing, the company that made the chair. "This is 100% off-road. There isn't much that's going to stop it."
Lance's new chair runs almost like a snowmobile. On Saturday, he'll take it on its first hunting trip when he takes part in a deer hunt for people with disabilities. Now, it'll be the guides' turn to try and keep up with him.
"I was so happy when I heard they were getting one of these for me. It's pretty awesome," says Lance. "It makes me feel like I'm very important. I couldn't stop smiling and I still can't stop smiling."
Lance wanted to thank everyone who donated, including hunting guide Stanton Kelley who got the idea for the fundraiser. He came all the way up from Texas to take Lance hunting. Kelley, Ellingson and Bob Lauritsen are hoping to raise money for a second powered wheelchair to keep at the Watson Hunting Camp for anyone who needs to use it.
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