For the first time in years, Marquis Newberg resident Ed Johann ‘hiked’ a trail independently.
Thanks to the nonprofit David’s Chair, Johann traversed a portion of Chehalem Glenn Golf Course’s Gettman Loop trail via a motorized chair. Decked out in a “Pearl Harbor Survivor” cap and a shirt displaying his photograph — the same picture used in the Lincoln City plaza named after him — he spoke softly but excitedly to his granddaughter, Rachel Howard, about the lush vegetation around him.
“I go places to speak, but I never get out like this, ever,” Johann said. “This is the first time. I enjoy it. In fact, I might stay here and not come back with you guys. I want to come again tomorrow. I want to stay here all night.”
As he drove down the path, his entourage — including Kat Ricker from the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, Brian Moyer from David’s Chair Northwest Oregon and American Legion Post 57 Commander Michael Ireton — followed closely behind.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Moyer, who transported the chair to the golf course, said. “As a veteran myself, being able to see a guy who went through Pearl Harbor is incredible … He didn’t stop serving people when he got out of the military, he kept that up, so it feels really good to be able to help him.”
David’s Chair was founded five years ago to help individuals with mobility challenges experience life, especially the outdoors, independently again. So far, the organization has accumulated eight chairs that can travel across sand and snow, which they lend to people upon request. Although Johann could only use the device for a certain amount of time, Moyer said his family can apply again to use it in the future if desired.