The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 28, 2013

Project Patriot raising money for all-terrain track chair for veteran

One West Virginia wounded warrior will soon be riding in style in an all-terrain track chair, funded by West Virginia’s Project Patriot committee.

Project Patriot, a national committee under the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, is currently raising funds for the all-terrain track chair, which will be properly outfitted and donated to a wounded warrior who applies as a potential recipient.

“Under Project Patriot, I wanted to do something that would make a huge difference, but on a small scale,” said Samantha Shleser, West Virginia state chairman for Project Patriot.

Shleser got the idea to raise funds for an all-terrain track chair, which is essentially an off-road wheelchair, after seeing Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly lead a similar fundraiser benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project on his show.

“It doesn’t run on wheels, it runs on a track like a tank,” Shleser said, explaining that it could afford warriors a larger sense of freedom and a better quality of life.

The chairs cost between $12,000 to $18,000 depending on how the chair is outfitted for the soldier, Shleser explained.

“They’re designed to accommodate what the warrior needs for his particular disability, and what he wants to do with the chair,” Shleser said.

Chairs can be outfitted with places to secure bows, rifles, fishing rods and anything a warrior would need, from practical to recreational uses.

While NSDAR is a women’s service organization that focuses on historical preservation, education and patriotism, Project Patriot is a committee of NSDAR that focuses on wounded warrior support and women veterans.

NSDAR has 1,800 members statewide and 39 chapters, all of which can trace their lineage to soldiers, suppliers, or anyone who aided the cause of the American Revolution.

“We encourage all of our wounded warriors in the state to contact us if they’d like to be considered for the chair,” Shleser said.

The Communications Workers of America Local 2007 of Beckley donated $500 to the cause Thursday.

“We’re making progress,” Shleser said. “Our goal is to have the money by January. We currently have around $10,000.

“At the national convention in June, our state region is planning to challenge other states to join the initiative,” Shleser said. “We’re hoping that other states will take on this project.”

Shleser encourages anyone wishing to apply for the chair or who knows someone eligible to receive the chair to contact her. To submit recommendations or to donate, contact Shleser at 304-673-4412.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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