GIFT OF LAUGHTER: Riley camp gets off-road wheelchair
COLUMBIA CITY — The red, off-road wheelchair was piloted out of the garage by Mike McCoy, a resident of Eagle Glen who built the contraption with the help of mechanic Rodney Sheets of One Stop Auto.The 200-pound wheelchair, fashioned to look like his red jeep with it’s jeep seat, donut tires, pipe and jeep front, is the combination of McCoy’s vision and Sheet’s labor over the past month.These two lifelong friends said they made the wheelchair for one purpose, to bring joy to children’s lives.“If we can make one kid laugh and smile out of this, our job is done,” said McCoy.Sheets said the idea to make the wheelchair all started when McCoy came to him one day.“He said, ‘I opened my big mouth. I need your help.’ I said, ‘OK’ so that’s how I got involved in this.”McCoy is a member of Fat Boys Jeepers, a jeep club with over 200 members. Fat Boys Jeepers has pledged $75,000 to the Riley Children’s Foundation toward a project for Camp Riley, located in Bradford Woods, Martinsville. The project is a Challenge Course, where children with disabilities can experience growth by completing challenges.Every year McCoy goes down to the camp where members from Fat Boys Jeepers give the kids rides in the jeeps.“They also have face painting and they have games, snow cones and elephant ears,” said McCoy.Spending time each year with the kids opened McCoy’s eyes, giving him the idea to make the wheelchair for the off-road track.“I’ve never seen one kid cry down there,” said McCoy. “I only see happy faces.”The money Fat Boys Jeepers pledged for the Challenge Course will be raised at the 4xKIDS JAM, held May 10-12 at The Ranch in French Lick, Ind. At this event, McCoy plans to take the off-road wheelchair with him to allow families to use it.“We’re taking it down to that because we have about six families coming,” said McCoy.In July, McCoy plans to take the wheelchair to Camp Riley, and present it to them to keep as a permanent gift.For more information on Camp Riley, visit www.rileykids.org.