Looks like HOAL isn’t the only game in town – Outdoor Dreams seems like a neat program as well. What a cool story!
Ridin’ on a dream
By Mark Hynds, Staff writer
Sometimes, dreams do come true. For 15-year-old Drake Mote, it was all about timing.
The Bowersville teenager has a pituitary carcinoma, or brain tumor. He has endured 55 radiation treatments and started chemo therapy on June 13.
Back in March, at the former Exxon station on Reed Creek Highway, Craig Fulghum, a law enforcement officer for the Department of Natural Resources, was heading into the store when he passed a man who seemed irritated about something.
“I ran into this guy and he just seemed upset about something,” said Fulghum. “I asked him if he needed help and he told me the story.”
The story was about Drake. The man was a co worker of Drake’s father, Len, at the Department of Transportation. He explained to Fulghum that Len’s son had been diagnosed with cancer and that the family was having a hard time, both emotionally and financially.
“He was looking to try and help them out,” said Fulghum. “Give them something positive.”
Talk about timing. Along with his duties at the DNR, Fulghum is a member of the Outdoor Dreams Foundation team. Outdoor Dreams is an organization, in the mold of Make-A-Wish, that grants hunting, fishing and other outdoor dreams for young people 21 and under who have life-threatening illnesses.
They had a banquet scheduled for that Friday night at the Bethany Baptist Church and Fulghum told the coworker to invite Drake and his family to come.
“They were the first ones there,” said Fulghum. “We met the family and they were all real sincere.”
The only issue was that Drake doesn’t hunt or fish. But, he loves to ride all-terrain vehicles.
“It’s not catching or shooting something, but it’s definitely outdoors,” said Fulghum. And the dream was born.
So, on June 2 Drake, his father, Len, his mother, Andria sister, Taylor and brother, Zac, piled into a church van donated by Flat Shoals Baptist Church and driven by another local Outdoor Dreams team member, Steve Shaw, and took off for the Atlanta airport.
“I was the only one who had ever flown before,” said Andria, Drake’s mother. “My husband’s greatest fear is flying.” Other than a bumpy ride from Denver to Cody, it was an easy trip.
Their final destination? The 23,000-acre Fiddle Back Ranch in Meeteeste, Wyo., 30 miles south of Cody.
But for Drake, it was the four-legged animals that brought the greatest pleasure.
“He’s not a hunter but he loves to look at animals,” said Andria. “Every time we saw something, he would yell ‘mama, look at that.’ I thought for sure by the end of the week, he would stop, but he was just so excited.”
He saw antelopes, elk, buffaloes, deer, and nine baby coyotes. And, Drake’s favorite, a moose.
“I’ve always wanted to see a moose,” he said. “And we were able to get pretty close, since the older ones are more docile. They really had huge racks.”
And it wouldn’t be trip to a ranch without a little work. One of the Hagen’s “neighbors” had cattle that need to be branded. So the gang hopped on their ATV’s and rode across thousands of acres to the 91 Ranch next door.
“I got to wrestle cows,” said Drake. “It was a lot of fun and my pants’ pockets were full of dirt when we got back to the cabin.”
“They branded 152 cows that day,” said Andria. “Zac would hold the front and Drake would hold the back.”
“They just jumped right in,” said Duaine. “All the locals were real impressed with how friendly Drake and his family were.”
And while the trip may be over, the friendship between Drake and the folks at Outdoor Dreams is just beginning.
“We’re here for the long haul,” said Shaw. “We will support them and help them any way we can. We don’t just send you on a trip and then walk away.”
Andria sees that first hand.
“They call and check on him once a week,” she said. “He went for his first chemo treatment on Wednesday (June 13), and they called to see how that went.”
And that’s how it works with Outdoor Dreams.
“They told me Drake’s a member for life,”said Andria. “That means a lot to me as a mom.”
Read the full article at the link at the top
For more information about the Outdoor Dreams Foundation, contact Brad Jones at 864-260-9786 or e-mail [email protected] You can also check out their Web site at www.outdoordreamfoundation.com.