Special wheelchair designed for injured veterans gives them more freedom

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A specialized wheelchair, that works like a tank, is giving injured veterans the freedom to roam. One of the chairs was donated to Wes Perkins, who's an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.

"Being military, it felt like a tank and it felt at home. It's comfortable and a whole lot of fun," said Perkins.

As a convoy driver, the desert terrain ruined Perkin's knees and back.

"The Action TrackChair basically allows myself and other vets with lower body impairments to be able to go out and do the outdoor activities that we wouldn't normally be able to do," Perkins told FOX 32.

Perkins can now fish with his kids and go to the beach, alongside his wife.

The chair retails for almost $16,000, but the local non-profit, AllenForce, is loaning them to veterans and their families for free.

They call it the Vetank Program.

"We have these available for any veteran or family member to borrow whenever it's needed.  They can just sign it out, similar to a rental car, but there's no charge," said AllenForce co-founder Donna Allen-Sebok.

She hopes the Vetank Program will expand nationwide, making state parks and other outdoor destinations that have the chairs an attraction for veterans.

Locally, the TrackChairs are kept in Shorewood, Illinois, which is just outside of Joliet.

The chairs can be borrowed from that location or AllenForce will bring the chair to interested veterans.

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