Trac-Fab wheelchair will allow more injured vets to go hunting at Warrior House
By Thom Jennings, Correspondent
SHELBY – The Warrior House of WNY has access to a new vehicle that will allow them to serve more injured soldiers thanks to a phone call and five anonymous donors.
Last week Jim Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan, presented a specially modified wheelchair to former US Marine Corporal Ed Spence of Operation Injured Soldier, Peter Zeliff Jr. of The Warrior House of WNY and Joe Pionessa of Christian Bow Hunters.
The Trac-Fab wheelchair is designed to assist persons with disabilities so they can participate in hunting and fishing. The $15,000 price tag makes it prohibitive for many individuals and organizations but when Spence gave Trac-Fab’s Ed Humpert a call, he reached out to Tignanelli who found five anonymous donors, all of whom are military vets themselves, to pay for the chair that is now in Orleans County.
“It’s going to continue, we will keep looking for the next place to give one away,” Tignanelli said. “Last week I saw this 17-year-old kid at McDonald’s when we were on the way to deliver one of the chairs and he told me it restored his faith in humanity. Hearing that from a 17 year-old restored my faith in humanity.”
Tignanelli noted he is “a car guy that can take a transmission apart” but does not hunt. “It’s guys like you that drive us to do this, we love the things you are doing here with The Warrior House. It is very gratifying, we would not have a place to bring these things without guys like you.”
Zeliff owns the property on Salt Works Road that has become The Warrior House. He makes the property available for veterans, many with injuries, to go hunting. Zeliff has assembled a team of volunteers to provide the veterans with food, and also to serve as guides while they pursue geese, pheasants and deer.
The Trac-Fab wheelchair saw its first action this past weekend as The Warrior House hosted a turkey hunt. Spence said he plans to make use of the chair as often as possible and it will soon be a familiar site at The Warrior House of WNY’s weekend hunts.
“This will give us an opportunity to reach more veterans and expand our program,” Zeliff said. “There are a lot of people behind the scenes that make this possible, especially all our wives.”
For more information on The Warrior House of WNY email Zeliff at firstname.lastname@example.org.