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The Challenged Athletes Foundation had a big year in 2021

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jan 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-01 15:35:24-05

BOISE, Idaho — 2022 is here, but before we tackle a new year let's pause for a moment and look back at the best stories of 2021, the tragic moments and some challenging times.

It was a big year for the Idaho Challenged Athletes Foundation, in January Teddy got the first-ever GRIT off-road wheelchair designed for kids.

The Partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and GRIT led to the wheelchair company giving away 20 chairs for kids across the country, including three for our kids in Idaho.

"We are really trying to push the envelope on innovation and saying how can we get our kids out there faster so they can fall in love with the outdoors just as quickly as their peers," said Jenn Skeesick the director of Idaho CAF.

In July, the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation announced their plan for the Idaho Fieldhouse which will become a new home for Idaho CAF and Mission 43, an organization dedicated to helping our nation's veterans.

The executive director of Mission 43 Bryan Madden introduced me to his daughter Reagan as we looked back on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

“I think it is important for everyone to know what happened and how that was a really bad thing," said Reagan Madden.

There were sad stories in 2021, we lost Jesse Anderson, Geoff Laubhan and Matthew Peltzer in a helicopter crash as these three Idaho National Guard members were training to save others.

"The sudden and tragic loss of three of our fellow guardsmen is extremely heartbreaking to every member of the Idaho National Guard family," said Major General Michael Garshak of the Idaho National Guard.

The motocross community said goodbye to racing legend Kenny Gallegos who was killed in a UTV accident, his family and friends honored Kenny with a special tribute riding his old bike up the hill at the Owyhee Motorcycle Club.

"That motorcycle was what he rode in his prime to hear the rev and see it go up the hill and see my son on it, that touched my heart," said Kenny's cousin Rodney Reynolds.

The weather created challenges as most of Idaho faced drought conditions and there were other challenges in a tough year for Idaho farmers.

Shay Myers of Owyhee Produce had to dump his onions in 2020, this year a delay in getting workers from Mexico through the H2A program left Myers with nobody to harvest his asparagus crop so Myers allowed people to come pick his crop so it wouldn't go to waste.

"It's getting to a point where farmers across this valley across this nation, we are getting to a point where we want to give up," said Myers. "We are tired and exhausted at the bureaucratic process we have to go through."

Some of the biggest heroes of 2021 were wildland firefighters as the west once again burned throughout the summer.

I had to race home to Montana to help my parents evacuate their cabin which was an intense experience, but in the end, firefighters and a little help from mother nature saved my parent's home.

I also had many adventures this past year, but in 2022 I want to tell your stories and I'm blessed to be on the outdoors and military beat.

So if you are working on something big you can contact me at steve.dent@kivitv.com, Happy New Year.