Dennis Schulze, known as the “Man in the Chair,” celebrates the fact that he is alive by “paying it forward.”

In 2017, he traveled 170 miles by wheelchair, propelling himself with one leg, from Janesville to Lambeau Field. The 50-day journey raised money for five causes: Law Enforcement Death Response Team, Alzheimer’s disease, St. Jude children’s research, cancer research and the March of Dimes.

A fundraiser this weekend, June 12, 13 and 14, he said will raise money for first responders of Wisconsin and homeless veterans in Rock County.

The three-day event starts with a pool tournament at 7 p.m. Friday. Bags, darts and volleyball tournaments start at noon on Saturday. These events are at JR’s Pub, 11624 N. Nelson St. On Sunday, a wheelchair/walk begins at 10 a.m. at Klub Bub, 46 Merchant Row. Meet at 10 a.m. Leave at 11 a.m. for JR’s Pub. Rainbow Bridge will play at 2 p.m.

On June 20, 2012, Schulze was nearly killed while driving a semi-truck on a Chicago expressway. An off-duty police officer had pulled over an intoxicated driver. Another semi-truck driver made an evasive emergency maneuver to avoid striking the officer and intoxicated driver, but moved directly in the path of Schulze’s truck which crashed into the trailer and pinned him inside his truck. His lower right leg had to be amputated. He then had seven more surgeries. On the date of the seventh surgery his father died. His mother died in 2014. Then, in November 2015, his cousin Officer Ryan Copeland, 33, died when a vehicle crossed into his lane of traffic in the Town of Albion.

So much tragedy in such little time changed Schulze, who said he wants to be an inspiration and raise money for others.

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