Off-road wheelchair huge surprise for Vietnam Vet - WNEM TV 5

Off-road wheelchair huge surprise for Vietnam Vet

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A group of men and women met in Auburn Friday morning, knowing they'd soon change one man's life.

"Between shootings, assaults, car wrecks, bank robberies, and barricaded gunmen, I've never been as tense as I am right now," said Jim Tignanelli.

Tignanelli is a retired police officer and now the president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan.  He has spent the last several years giving back to veterans, and on Friday afternoon, he did a deed he won't soon forget.

"I'm just overwhelmed, really," said Tignanelli.

With his strong will to change a life and strong financial help flooding in, Tignanelli purchased an Action Trackchair.  It's a lot like an Amigo, but you can off road with it.  It can be used to get out into the woods to hunt and fish. 

With help from some local veteran organizations, they pinpointed a Vassar man, who they felt was most deserving of this chair.  They presented it to Vietnam Veteran Nels Larsen and it became very clear that a "thank you" is never too late.

The chair is etched with Larsen's nickname "Skeeter" and it's all thanks to very generous people.

"This is amazing, I can't believe this," said an emotional Larsen.

His disability is the result of Agent Orange back in the Vietnam era.

"Never had a day like this, in a long time, or ever. I mean, this is something else," said Larsen.

"If it was the best day of his life, it was even better for me," said Tignanelli.

And on Friday afternoon, we got to see his smile as he tested the new chair.

"I'm going to go deer hunting, I'm going to go deer hunting," laughed Larsen.

And we got to witness the thanks our veterans deserve for keeping America free.

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