In the 1950’s and 60’s upper Midwest farm boys were plentiful and easy to find and identify. You knew them by their crew cuts and the local small town high school athletic teams. Most of us had no idea we were almost all from low income family farms. We assumed all boys had one pair of shoes for the farm work, barn chores, church and school. Our 25 cents weekly allowance bought us a movie, popcorn, and “pop” in town. Our sacred possessions were our single shot 22’s and shotguns plus our cane poles. Dad’s wooded back 40, the neighbor’s 80, the secret duck ponds, and the river were our turf. Life was good!
Little did we know Uncle Sam would soon invite us to Vietnam. Many did not return or they returned with disabilities and/or emotional issues. The term “lottery” then involved more “chance” than today’s players might bargain for.
Fast forward to Iraq and Afghanistan and we find again many U.S. service volunteers who did not return or brought back “Purple Hearts”, and again some disabilities and emotional issues. Several of those returning veterans are now serving as WAW volunteers and advisors.
This farm boy was fortunate enough to attend college and then become a U.S. Marine. I have been blessed with several of the 40’s and 80’s from my farm boy days. That land has now been consolidated into the 255 acre tract we call WAW. I wrote one particular key land owner a letter for about 20 years asking him to sell me his land. He never replied. Kay and I prayed over our 2007 letter and he called inquiring, “Do you still want my land?” By selling other small parcels I put it all into one piece. We can now pass on these lands to assist our current military veterans, their families, and people with disabilities. These rural lands are uniquely fitted to provide more “boyhood balm” with activities like camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, discovering nature, solitude, and companionship. Life is still good! Wisconsin Adventures on Wheels restores the boy in us all – campers and counselors alike. WAW proves “it is better to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
We, as a Christian nation, practice our diversity freely and have received more from our veterans going to foreign lands than we could ever repay, or ever fully comprehend their sacrifice for us.
Our new 501-c-3 is designed to facilitate the healing process using God’s creation as our doctor, nurse, and/or therapist. Each Memorial Day we dutifully notice the flags and white crosses. May those who freely gave their lives inspire us to now care for the wounded who returned and not forget those who gave all.
We acknowledge that the VA system is structured to administer to our veterans’ needs and genuinely tries to facilitate emotional healing. Many private entities such as “Focus Marines” and “Camp Hero” (WAW mentors) are better suited to address the emotional issues that our “world conflicts” precipitate for our veterans. We, like them (there are dozens more) need private funds to exercise and facilitate our giving back. Contact us through www.wawheels.org to participate.
“Striving to actively help our veterans in need”
WAW Mission Statement
The mission of Wisconsin Adventures on Wheels is to facilitate in the outdoors the emotional healing of disabled and wounded individuals and their families. Special emphasis is focused on U.S.A military veterans. The camp’s environment and activities promote fellowship, community and new relationships.
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed came where he was, and when he saw him he had compassion.” Luke 10:33, NKJV
Al and Kay Lamovec
Wisconsin Adventures on Wheels
WAW Camp Location
N 9839 Sterling Avenue
Willard, Wisconsin 54493-0058
7744 196th Street
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin 54729
Henry Lamovec, Sr. “Dad” – Dad insisted all four of us kids attend college. Dad, already in his 80’s, also helped build and maintain roads for wheelchairs to benefit people with disabilities. Thank you!
Dale Petkovsek. Local disabled “Farm Boy”, “Giver”, and entrepreneur. My inspiration. Founded Rock Creek Disabled Outdoors. Dale could make $5 out of 50¢.