UPDATE: Drew Nachreiner putting new wheelchair to good use in Ba - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Drew Nachreiner putting new wheelchair to good use in Baraboo

Posted: Updated: Jul 13, 2014 03:48 PM

BARABOO (WKOW) -- Drew Nachreiner can often be seen cruising the streets of Baraboo in his motorized wheelchair.

Drew, 16, has cerebral palsy and relies on the chair to get around on his own.

Drew's current wheelchair is new. It was donated to him by Home Health United after his former set of wheels was totaled in a car wreck.

Drew was hit by a vehicle crossing a street more than three months ago. He wasn't seriously hurt but the chair was totaled. That left him reliant on family members to take him places using a manual, push wheelchair.

"It's just so much nicer now that I don't have to wait on everybody else to take me places," Drew said.

"I can just grab my cell phone and go," he added.

Drew uses his new chair to drive to the Boys & Girls Club in Baraboo, where he volunteers Monday-Friday for roughly 20 hours each week.

"I hang out with the kids and play games with them and stuff," Drew said. "I just talk to them, and just normal kids' stuff. You kind of have to put yourself in their shoes."

The new wheelchair also helps Drew better interact with the kids during activities like kickball.

"I can chase all the kids around and play with them," Drew said, adding that would not have been possible in the manually-powered chair.

Karen DeSanto, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of West Central Wisconsin, said she's very grateful to have Drew volunteering.

"The kids love him. He's one of these great mentors, and he has all the things I would want every 16 or 17-year old kid to have," she said.

She said Drew is funny, kind and caring.

"He talks to (the kids)," DeSanto said. "Often, the kids just want somebody to talk to and they just need somebody to listen."

DeSanto said Drew volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club last summer but was too young to be hired as an employee. This year, she hired him through a Reedsburg agency that pairs up employers with people looking for work through the Wisconsin Promise Program.

"We look at Drew and we immediately see his chair," DeSanto said.

"But that's a bonus to have him in the chair because the kids respond to it... It opens conversation with the kids asking 'why? how? what?'" DeSanto said. "Then Drew is himself. He's funny and he's nice and he's all these things that make him no different than anybody else."

"It gives the kids a perspective of a great person," she said.

Drew and Karen have also worked together to establish the Drew Nachreiner Endowment Fund at the Boys & Girls Club.

DeSanto said donations towards a new chair for Drew poured in following his accident. But since Home Health United donated the chair, Drew requested that the money be instead put towards the Boys & Girls Club. That led to the establishment of the endowment fund.

DeSanto said the fund currently contains roughly $3,700. The money will be used for scholarships for club members, as well as to fund the club's Strategic Academic Success Initiative. DeSanto said membership at the Boys & Girls Club costs $24 annually. But she added each child tends to cost the club roughly $500 a year.

Drew will be a high school junior this fall. In addition to working, he said he also enjoys playing video games and doing other typical, teenager activities.

He's also quite fond of young lady named Katie.

"Can I give her a shout out?" Drew asked during our interview.  

 "Hi Katie, if you're reading this. You're the best," he said with a smile.

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