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CHAMPION — Those who know Nate Denofre know that nothing can stop him from doing what he loves.
“He’s a double amputee. He’s been without legs since birth. But, it’s been amazing just watching him carve a path through life doing all the things a lot of us with two legs take for granted, and even more in some cases,” said Nate’s close friend Erik Conradson.
Founder of the non-profit organization Courage Inc., Nate uses his passion for the outdoors to help veterans or others with disabilities daily. Unfortunately, that has put a toll on his prosthetic legs.
“His current one is held together with duct tape, a big ball of duct tape, so much so that he can’t wear shoes. And walking in the snow has been a challenge the last few weeks,” said Rhonda Numikoski, owner of 95 Junction Tavern.
Conradson added, “It hurts as a friend to see him lose his mobility and facing life in a wheelchair, and not be able to do the things he is passionate about. So, to see him struggle to afford new legs is just something that I find unacceptable.”
The minimum out of pocket expense was set at $6,000 for Nate to get a new pair of legs.
And so, the fundraising initiative started with a go fund me page set up by Nate’s close friend.
“So I just began reaching out asking people to contribute if they could, and if they couldn’t, at least spread the word so other people could find out about it. Slow but sure, day after day, more people contributed. And it was just yesterday when we got our last donation that ticked us to our $6,000 mark,” said Conradson.
Though the minimum goal was hit, there will still be travel costs and the cost of the medial appointments to cover.
And that’s why Junction 95 Tavern, the Champion Lions Club, and several donors throughout the community have planned a chicken dinner benefit for this Saturday.
Numikoski says, “We have probably well over a dozen gift baskets to raffle already, and I’m expected a few more to come in yet. These have been from people I just really would have never expected to donate, and I’ve been really blown away by the support we’ve had so far.”
The benefit will be held at the 95 Junction from 1p.m. to 7 p.m., or until they run out of chicken, on Saturday. Can’t make it and still looking for a way to contribute? No problem! You can make out a check on Nate’s behalf to the Junction 95 bar.
Make checks out to Nate Denofre, and send it to the following address:
Junction 95 Bar
PO Box 219
Champion, MI 49814