ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A local restaurant gave an Elizabethton veteran a $15,000 specialized wheelchair Thursday.

Wesley Bullington, an Army National Guard veteran, received a trackchair from Applebee’s. Trackchairs are a motorized type of wheelchair that allows for offroad capabilities thanks to their rubber, tank-like track.

Photo: WJHL

Bullington said the device will allow him to not only do more of the outdoor activities he loves but also spend more time with his loved ones.

“My kids and my family are my whole world,” he said. “I mean, I thank God every day that he’s giving me the family that I have. And to be able to spend the time outdoors with them and doing things that they enjoy, it’s huge for me because I like to be out outdoors. I like to hunt, I like to fish, and the fact that they want to follow behind me with that and then me to be able to be out with them is everything for me.” 

Over the last eight years, the Applebee’s franchise has given away trackchairs to veterans like Bullington. Bullington marked the 43rd veteran to receive one.

“It’s impressive to see companies that do this for vets and for other disabled Americans to be able to enhance their lives,” Bullington said. “I mean, a chair like this, not only does it get me around the grocery store if I needed to use it, but it gets me out farther beyond that and able to do a whole lot more. And I appreciate everything that Applebee’s has done in making this happen.”

Bullington said he typically uses a cane to get around due to lower back issues stemming from his deployments.

The money for the chairs is raised in November in line with Veterans Day.

“It’s awesome to see it actually come back to this community and see it in this area,” said Matthew Roberts, the general manager of the Elizabethton Applebee’s. “Just very thankful for the company to be able to do this and provide happiness to others.” 

A few years ago, Applebee’s representatives said another chair was given to a Greeneville veteran.