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Wheeling for a cause

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By Doug Ponder

A Wisconsin man came through LaRue County last weekend to promote his cause of raising awareness and giving back to those who have impacted his life.

Dennis Schulz of Beloit, Wisconsin is raising awareness in a unique way by travelling five miles a day on a highway, backwards in his wheelchair, as he collects donations for charities specifically for first responders and veterans. Schulz started his journey in Elizabethtown earlier this week and he plans to travel to Nashville. After arriving at Nashville, he plans on traveling to Jackson, Mississippi and then Houston. For all the other miles that Schulz does not travel in his wheelchair, he is driven by his manager Leonard Reddic of Rockford, Illinois.

“I go backwards so people can see me on the road instead of having to see by backside,” Schulz said. “We also map out the areas where I do my five miles each day and we get permission from local law enforcement in each area. That way we stay safe.”

Schulz has a special place in his heart for first responders because of an event that happened on June 20, 2012 that put him in a wheelchair. While working as a truck driver, Schulz said he was in a collision with another semi-truck that pinned him inside his truck and resulted in first responders having to amputate his right leg.

“Without their quick response, I would have died,” Schulz said. “I was conscious the whole time. They were all with me the entire time and talked with me. The police, firefighters and EMS. I can’t thank them all enough and wanted to do something to raise money and awareness for them.”

After having his leg amputated, Schulz said that he refused to let depression get the best of him and he started his wheelchair journeys to help those that helped him. His current journey is his third journey. During his first two journeys, Schulz has visited Wrigley Field in Chicago after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, He has also traveled to the green Bay Packers home stadium, Lambeau Field, and got to tour the White House and go into the Oval Office.

“I decided to turn a bad situation into a positive,” Schulz said. “Along with raising money, I also want to show other handicapped people that they can make a difference too.”

If you would like to donate, message Schulz on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/handshakejourney.

Visiting LaRue County

Schulz said that LaRue County was the next safest place to travel on his journey and that is why he chose to travel this way. Schulz went on to say that he had no clue about the history of Hodgenville being the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.

As he toured the square and the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, he was in awe. He also attended the Lincoln Days festival and participated in the parade.

“I always thought he was born in Springfield, Illinois,” Schulz said. “This is amazing. I will have a lot to tell to everyone back home.”