Thanks to Grove Wheelers, area residents with disabilities now have an opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy new activities.
“What we want to do is reach all these people who are out of the mainstream, sitting at home getting depressed, and get them into the outdoors. They can go hunting or fishing, or try archery, and get their quality of life back,” explained Grove Wheelers Vice President Fran Von Lintel.
Grove Wheelers, affiliated with the national organization, Wheelin’ Sportsmen, is a faith oriented outreach group that offers outdoor opportunities to people who are disabled, regardless of their ages. It falls under the auspices of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
According to the Grove Wheelers’ literature, “Handicapped members are partnered with able-bodied members for participation in up-coming events. By becoming a member, you will join a growing group of fellow handicapped individuals and volunteers in Grove and the surrounding area.”
Members include an Iraq veteran, a legally blind teenager, a Vietnam vet, and a nine-year-old burn victim.
The group, started by Richard Shelden, who is himself, disabled, has been in existence for eight months. There are currently 17 members, five of whom are disabled.
Future planned events include a fishing trip on Grand Lake in June, to include a fish fry, and an antelope hunt slated for the first week of September.
“The response from the community has been really good,” Von Lintel said. “It’s just taken off. It’s a very needed program.”
Anyone who is interested in the program is welcome to join, he noted.
The group is seeking new members, volunteers, and funding. In addition, they would like to connect with any local property owners who would be willing to allow them to hunt or fish on their land.
“Some places have offered, but they’re really far away. We’d like to find someplace local where we could go for an afternoon,” Von Lintel said.
Grove Wheelers will be holding a “Redneck Luau” fundraiser on April 12 at the First Christian Church in Grove.
“All the money we raise stays in Grove and the surrounding area,” Von Lintel said, adding that it will be used to sponsor future events and to purchase much needed equipment.
“The specialty equipment we need is very expensive,” he explained.
For more information, call Richard Shelden at 918-786-6971 or Von Lintel at 918-786-5013.
“We just have a lot of fun, that’s the main thing,” Von Lintel concluded.