Vietnam veteran receives all-terrain wheel chair

Published 3:18 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

Vietnam War Veteran and Clanton resident Steve McAnally received an all-terrain wheel chair from Pennsylvania-based mobility product company TracFab. (Photo by Whitney Denson)

Vietnam War Veteran and Clanton resident Steve McAnally received an all-terrain wheel chair from Pennsylvania-based mobility product company TracFab. (Photo by Whitney Denson)

When Steve McAnally began using a wheelchair three years ago, he thought he would be homebound.

However, a Pennsylvania-based mobility product company has helped improve McAnally’s mobility and “changed his life,” he said.

Trac Fabrication LLC (TracFab) donated an all-terrain wheelchair to McAnally, a resident of Clanton and disabled Vietnam War veteran.

The all-terrain wheelchair has “tracks” instead of wheels, and is made to tackle outdoor terrain such as mud, sand, dirt and snow.

McAnally said he heard about the company and inquired about a chair via e-mail, though he never thought the company would donate a chair to him free of charge.

“I was surprised when they called and told me I qualified for a free chair,” McAnally said. “It started with me being curious.

“I thought, ‘Boy, that’s cool! How do I get one of those things?’ Now months later, they’re delivering it to my door.”

A few of the chair’s unconventional features include tracks with roller guide wheels, a welded steel frame, high-torque industrial grade motors and gearboxes, a body harness, a horn and command center.

Unique to McAnally’s chair is a custom gun rack for hunting and LED headlights.

“After they told me I qualified, I got to get on the website and pick out a chair,” McAnally said. “I just didn’t want to be homebound anymore.”

Steve McAnally’s wife, Barbara, shared her excitement for her husband’s new way of life.

“Before, he could only go to church and the grocery store and other indoor places,” she said. “It was awesome to see his face when they brought the chair [Aug. 19]. He was just doing loops around the yard.”

A member of the Chilton County Master Gardeners, Steve McAnally has only been able to help the gardeners by building and managing the organization’s website and overseeing other projects and events.

“I’m going to go dig in the dirt,” McAnally said laughingly. “And I’m going to go fishing with my best friend, Buddy Johnson, and hunting with my son, Paul.”

McAnally said he and his son are planning a hunting trip to Wyoming to hunt for elk, as the hunting rack is his “favorite” feature of the chair.

On Thursday morning, McAnally was able to walk his dog, Boo, for the first time in three years.

“The best thing for me was seeing my husband walk his dog,” Barbara McAnally said. “We got her from the Chilton County Humane Society. She’s his sweetheart.”

TracFab partners with It’s About the Warrior Foundation and Veterans of Foreign Wars to provide disabled veterans with freedom and mobility.

From 1961-1966, McAnally, now 72, served in the Korea and Vietnam Wars, and still suffers from injuries related to Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War containing harmful chemicals that can have a lasting effect on exposed individuals.

Despite the damages, McAnally considers himself lucky.

“When I got the chair yesterday, it made me humble, really,” he said. “We’ve had hard times, but I’ve really been blessed. I can’t complain.”

Steve and Barbara McAnally resided in Texas until 2004, when “the good Lord” brought them to Chilton County, where the couple are members of the American Legion.

With two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, McAnally said he is appreciative of the chance to have more freedom.

“I don’t know why I’ve been chosen to get all these benefits, but I’m thankful for them,” he said.

McAnally is thought to be the only person in Chilton County to receive an all-terrain wheelchair through TracFab, which was founded in 2012.

For more information on TracFab, visit