Do you have a dream, a vision, a great idea, but you just don’t have the money… …don’t have the time…aren’t strong enough….aren’t smart enough…don’t know where to start? What if you were paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair? Think those questions would enter your head?
Tee Foy had a dream, a vision, a great idea. He wanted to create a place where children with disabilities could go and enjoy the outdoors. He wanted to build something that would enable children to do all of the things he grew up doing and loved. He didn’t have the money, didn’t have the physical strength, didn’t quite know where to start, and that is not just because he is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. He had never started a non-profit organization before, but he started one anyway…..and S.H.A.R.E. was born.
The acronym stands for SAFE-HUNTING-ADVENTURES-RECREATIONAL-EXPLORING, and the purpose is to allow disabled children to hunt and fish and trap and camp and ride ATVs like healthy kids…started by somebody who knows: to be able to do so is not a small thing.
I’m relaying Tee’s story from conversations I have had with him, from articles written about him, and from simply being his friend, so I’m going to tell you his story in my words, not his, so buddy, if you are reading this, I hope I get it all right.
Last year, I wanted to do something special for my husband for Valentine’s Day, and I ran across one of Tee’s posts on Facebook auctioning a guided turkey hunt with Preston Pittman, a world renowned turkey caller. The proceeds were going to benefit S.H.A.R.E. Foundation for Kids. I’m going to admit, even though S.H.A.R.E. was new and I don’t hunt or fish or do anything that involves getting dirty or touching dead animals, I was a bit ashamed I didn’t know what S.H.A.R.E. was about. I bid and bid and bid and finally won the hunt, and winning led me to, rather bashfully, ask the questions to which I should have already known the answers, but didn’t.
To simply know Tee exists meant that I knew he had grown up hunting and fishing and doing everything outdoors. I knew it was his passion. I knew it was what made him feel alive. I didn’t know if he still got to hunt since the car accident which left him paralyzed, but I should have known better…Tee Foy doesn’t quit. Turns out, he still hunts, he still fishes, and he has found that being confined to a wheelchair means he knows the challenges of doing both…and the ways around them.
So I asked: “What made you do this?” He told me a story about a seeing a post on Facebook seeking someone who could train a dog for an autistic child. Being Tee, ever confident in the things he knows, messaged this desperate mama and told her that he could train the dog, but she would have to bring it back to him regularly. She agreed. This led Tee to form a relationship with not only the dog, but the little boy suffering from autism. He lit up Tee’s world, and then shook it forever. That child who crawled into Tee’s heart with his puppy not far behind, drowned. I remember vividly Tee telling me that, in his very own “Tee” way, “Marsha, you know I’m not big on church and all that, but at that funeral, God was talking to me. He was telling me that I needed to do something for kids who had disabilities. And I listened.”
I believe God took Tee’s obedience and opened all of the doors that needed to be opened to allow him to find a starting place. (I love it when God shows out.) It took a few months and some trying, scrapping, and trying again, but within the year, Tee had created S.H.A.R.E. A camp house was donated to the non-profit organization, and upon first sight, it looked like it would never be more than a run down, weed-devoured, cinder block building. Now, it has been completely renovated, and it is the center of S.H.A.R.E.’s activities. It can accommodate kids with and without disabilities, and it is wheelchair accessible.
Already, Camp S.H.A.R.E. has had fishing days, trapping days, hunting events and more, but Tee’s vision goes so much further than that. Tee has been in the hospital for the past few months, but while he was there, he planned S.H.A.R.E.’s next event: Art Day. It is a completely unique event that will include artistic lessons by William Heard and Sylvia Chamberlain, live music by Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band, fishing, camping, and much more. And the best news is: it is FREE!
S.H.A.R.E.’s mission is to create a place where kids, no matter what challenges they face, can be kids, and they are taught how to do so by a fierce leader with challenges of his own……but you’d never know it. All of his life, if you wanted something accomplished, just tell Tee Foy it can’t be done, and you will find that is a surefire way to make it happen. Tee will be embarrassed when I say this, but I don’t care: for someone who has met the kinds of challenges that life has brought to him, he has risen above each and every one, making his already unique life even more meaningful, making the lives of the people around him fuller, making anyone who knows him proud of him, and anyone who doesn’t, want to know more.
Tee might seem like a superhero to me and many others, but obviously, Tee can’t do it all by himself. Though he has a fantastic team who helps physically implement his dreams, he can always use more. S.H.A.R.E. is still a growing, evolving foundation, and if you are so inclined, it can use your time, your money, or supplies for the camp house. Here is a list of just a few of Camp S.H.A.R.E.’s immediate needs.
So you have a vision, but you don’t think you have the resources to turn that dream into a reality? I’m sure Tee probably let that thought enter his mind once or twice. You want to help others, but you don’t have the time or the money? You have more than you think. You want to make a difference to some disabled children who just want to play the way other kid’s do, if even for a little while, but you didn’t know who to call or how to help? Well, now you do.
Tee Foy is one of my friends who is making it happen, and I think you need to know about him, too.
For more information about S.H.A.R.E., click here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/SHARE-Foundation-for-Kids/159640277383385
You can find Tee on Facebook, too.