Scott explained Grayson’s track chair made a world of difference. After experiencing the dramatic change it made for Grayson, they embarked on a mission to help others in need afford track chairs too.
For children with mobility challenges, exploring the wild outdoors can be difficult. Southern Outdoors Unlimited, a Mississippi-based nonprofit, organizes experiences designed to help kids overcome barriers.
The organization held its annual Sportsman’s Banquet at the Clyde Muse Center in Pearl, Mississippi, on August 17 to raise funds and celebrate the kids who have benefitted from its program.
The Outdoor Ability Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to provide grants for families to purchase adaptive equipment for their disabled kids, participated in this year’s event. They shared their story, along with a surprise.
Grayson Phillip is an avid fan of the outdoors. He was born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect that can limit a person’s mobility. Grayson’s father, Scott, created the Outdoor Ability Foundation to help kids like Grayson enjoy the outdoors and participate in activities like hunting and fishing.
While Scott was on stage, he shared the story of how he was inspired to found Outdoor Ability Foundation. He and Grayson were on a turkey hunt, and they reached a place where they would have to walk to access the turkeys.
Scott carried Grayson on his back through fields and woods to a place where they could complete the hunt. From that moment on, Scott said, he and Grayson were inspired by “a need for me, and a need for himself, so he could be independent and free.”
Track Chairs for Outdoor Freedom
Scott said Grayson couldn’t make the event because he was at work but wanted to send along his appreciation for everyone’s support, and then Scott showed a video of a track chair in action.
Track chairs are rugged, all-terrain wheelchairs. A comfy seat sits on top of treads instead of wheels. The user controls the tracks with two joysticks mounted at the end of the armrests.
Scott explained Grayson’s track chair made a world of difference. After experiencing the dramatic change it made for Grayson, they embarked on a mission to help others in need afford track chairs also.
Big Day for Charlie Ray Thanks to Community
A surprise for fifteen-year-old Charlie Ray was a highlight at this year’s banquet.
Charlie has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative muscular wasting disease. He relies on a wheelchair for mobility but also loves the outdoors.
When Charlie was introduced, a hunter’s blind was on stage nearby. After a few moments, the blind was taken away and underneath was a track chair for Charlie. His excitement was palpable as he realized what was happening.