Organizer of 'Ms. Track-a-licious' for the disabled is honored with Jefferson Award
FOX 31 continues to honor our local heroes with the Jefferson Awards.
The Jefferson Award is the nation's longest standing and most prestigious organization dedicated to celebrating public service.
November’s winner is Christine Fowler, a mother who has taken it upon herself to those with disabilities still be able to experience the outdoors.
Fowler gets emotional every time she thinks of how much of an impact her yearly fundraiser Ms. Track-a-licious has had on people with disabilities. Local businesses sponsor a humorous male only pageant and they use the funds to buy special wheelchairs to treat kids with disabilities to outdoor adventures.
“It’s amazing to know that you’re able to make somebody’s life a lot better. You know it’s not fair that they’ve either been born with a disability or they’ve had some type of accident that’s caused that but to be able to get them back to doing the things they like whether its hunt or going to the beach or even climbing mountains. These guys are able to do that,” Fowler said.
Fowler said the men who are involved in the pageant are either friends of her or friends of the of wheelchair recipient.
“It’s a lot of fun. it’s amazing how the community jumps to the opportunity to do it and supports it so well,” Fowler said.
And the project is personal for Fowler whose son uses a track chair after being injured in an accident.
“He was an avid hunter. I mean he loved the outdoors but he was unable to get to the deer stand without one of these chairs. So this chair has given him so many opportunities that I can just; he gets in the truck and goes. I don’t have to be there to push him to the stand or my husband or his brothers,” Fowler said.
They have don’t the fundraiser three years in a row and raised money for 4 chairs that cost about $14,000 each. The wheel chairs are action track chairs. Its an electric wheelchair with a wide stance and terrain rubber tracks.
“There’s so much; and not just here in Albany but the whole state of Georgia, people need these. But they’re just so costly that the normal person with a disability can’t afford to buy them,” Fowler said.
She is hoping to hold the event at least twice a year in the future because its benefits are endless.
“Trip Block; he’s always wanted to go to the beach, always wanted to be able to get out there because that’s something you can do in a regular chair. and I can remember weeks maybe the weekend he got the chair, he took off to the beach and posted these pictures. And just him telling me the freedom it gave him to just be able to go and the smile on their faces, it makes a difference,” Fowler said. “You can’t put a price tag on being able to let them do that. I don’t do this for the recognition. my satisfaction comes from when they smile and you know they’re just able to go,” she added.
Fowler said they are looking for more and bigger sponsors but are grateful for the devotion of local sponsors.
“But right now we just go after local businesses and we have some really good local sponsors that help every year,” Fowler said.
Fowler said even though people appreciate her for Ms. Track-a-licious it’s not about her.
“Every day I talk to somebody and they say it’s really amazing what you do and I don’t see it that way. I just see that somebody should do it and I’m glad to do it,” Fowler said.
They will be holding the next Ms. Track-a-licious event in September 2017.