Andrew Pike, 28, grew up in Idaho hunting and fishing. But in 2007 while Pike was serving in the Army in Iraq, he was hit by a sniper’s bullet that exited his back and left him paralyzed from the waist down. When he returned home to Idaho, his favorite activities were far more precarious than before. Bill Potter, the chairman of Higher Ground, an organization in Sun Valley, Idaho, that helps veterans participate in adaptive and wilderness-oriented sports, went fishing with Pike one day and recalled to Kimberlee Kruesi of that he told him, “If you make one small move, you might fall in and I’m 70 years old, I’m not going to be able to get you out.”
A mission was born to acquire an all-terrain wheelchair for Pike that he never thought he could afford. Idaho’s Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter invited Pike to come meet him on January 22 and take a tour of the statehouse, but when Pike arrived, Otter, Pike’s family and friends and many others surprised him with the presentation of a specially-equipped chair. The chair has a camouflage seat, sturdy wheels, a flashlight, a gun rack, and even an adjustment that allows the strapped-in Pike to stand. According to NWCN News, Potter told the crowd that Higher Ground and Healing Waters Flyfishing were determined to raise the money for the chair. “What the heck,” he said, “We’re from Idaho! We can do this! So we did.”
MORE: How A Fishing Trip Can Change A Disabled Veteran’s Life