Chad Waligura, Owner/Co-Host
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be…” – Anne Frank
I put that quote on the front page of my first site Follow Me Outdoors site way back in the mid-90’s because it exposed a simple truth about of what my life as a disabled hunter was about, and also what I wanted to share with other people. Now, I’d like Able Outdoors to be built on the same concept.
Growing up in a small town on the Texas gulf coast, I fell in love with the outdoors when I was twelve years old, that’s when my dad took me duck hunting the first time, and from that day on, I knew it was something that’d be a part of my life forever.
When I was paralyzed at age 17, during the summer of 1986 after diving into a pool, it was the one thing I knew I could never give up. Three months later, I was back in the woods with dad re-learning how to hunt again. It wasn’t easy for me and there were more failures than successes, but they showed me what I needed to do to be ready for the following season.
Eighteen years after later and i was chosen by Buckmasters’ American Deer Foundation as their Challenged Hunter of the Year, and in 2010, Safari Club International chose me for their Pathfinder Award!
In the meantime, and not long after my accident, I began writing stories for my site anytime I had a successful hunt or stumbled across an interesting story that I felt needed written. It was inauspicious beginning of my outdoor writing career. Since then, I’ve been published in mainstream magazines like Rack Magazine, King’s Hunting Illustrated, Eastman’s Hunting Journal, Horizontal Bowhunter Magazine, UFFDA magazine, Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine, the African Hunter Gazette and Universal Hunter.
Ashlee Lundvall, Co-Host
Ashlee Lundvall was an active teenager and four-sport athlete when she was injured in a ranching accident in 1999 while attending a youth camp in Wyoming. A tragic fall on to the wooden handle of a pitchfork blew out her back at T-12, resulting in a complete spinal cord injury and the introduction of a wheelchair to her life. After returning home to Indiana to finish her rehabilitation, Ashlee graduated from IUPUI in 2005 with a BS in Public Affairs, and completed her graduate studies in Biblical Counseling in 2007.
In 2007, Ashlee moved to Wyoming with her husband, Russ. She quickly immersed herself in the amazing outdoor adventures provided by the mountainous region, and in 2008 helped found Wyoming Disabled Hunters. Besides hunting, Ashlee loves fly fishing, camping, four-wheeling, kayaking, hand cycling, and tearing around in her Action Track Chair. She also enjoys passing on her love for the outdoors to her daughter, Addison, who was born in 2010.
Ashlee’s speaking career was reborn when she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA in 2013, and in 2015, she was given the Wyoming Trustee Award. Her first book, A Redefined Life, was released in February of 2016. She is a National Pro Staffer for Mossy Oak and a member of the NRA’s Disabled Shooting Sports and Outreach committees. Ashlee is also the recipient of the 2017 SCI Foundation Pathfinder Award. President Trump recently appointed her to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.
“Ashlee is a unique ambassador for the outdoors. She earned the title of Ms. Wheelchair USA with her platform of making the outdoors more accessible to everyone. She was and is today an animal lover and a hunter. These two unique characteristics don’t seem to be compatible even though they really are. Most of us take our ability to get into a vehicle, drive to the woods and go hunting for granted. But for Ashlee, it’s a decision to do whatever she must do to get to wherever she needs to go to find game to hunt. Ashlee is not only an ambassador for the outdoors. She’s an ambassador for the 2.2 million people in the United States who depend on wheelchairs for day-to-day tasks and mobility and for the Americans in wheelchairs who are participating more in outdoor sports and activities. She brings an unusual perspective on who can hunt, fish, hike, canoe and kayak in the great outdoors.” – John E. Phillips, Outdoor Writer