Top Stories of 2011 - NUMBER 1 - A $5,000 Skippy Dream come true

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Our final and top story of 2011 is about one man who has never given up or refused to back down from challenges he has endured in his life.

We hope this story motivates you to never back down, overcome adversity, and let nothing in life stand in your way from accomplishing anything.

God Bless and Happy New Year.



Story by Jeff Noedel-CNL

After reading a story written by publisher Kyle Quick in this news outlet about a paralyzed man who hopes to someday race his late father's tractor in tractor pulls, an anonymous reader sent $5,000 to Quick.

Last night, in front of several thousand tractor pull fans at the Washington, Mo. Town & Country Fair, Quick presented a $5,000 check to the family of Dustin Franke, 29, who was paralyzed from the waist down during an accident in 2001.

Then, the night of tractor pull began when the Minneapolis-Moline tractor that belonged to Franke's late father, Robert "Skip" Franke, raced down the track.  It was driven by a family friend.  When the tractor came to rest, tears were streaming from the eyes of the Franke family.

The elder Franke died in 2008.  He had just begun restoring the trademark yellow M-M tractor, which the family later named "Skippy's Dream."  Dustin, who has dreamed of someday racing the tractor, had no idea how he'd ever come-up with the thousands of dollars needed to install custom controls so he could race the tractor with only his hands.

Only one member of the Franke family knew in advance about the presentation of the $5,000 last night.  Dustin did not know.

After the playing of the National Anthem and the presentation of the court of Fair Queens, the big yellow tractor was driven to the center of the racetrack.  A track announcer called for Dustin and his family to come to the center of the track; they approach from the south end of the track.  At the same time, Quick approached from the north gate, holding a large piece of cardboard.  As the announcer read a script and the family caught glimpses of the other side of the cardboard, it became clear that someone had done something very special for Dustin.

After the check presentation and after "Skippy's Dream" finished its run, the family exited the dirt track, where they cried, hugged, and shared their amazement and gratitude.

From his wheelchair, Dustin Franke said he hoped to be racing "Skippy's Dream" next year.

To read Kyle Quick's original July 12 story, click here.  Quick's follow-up story suggesting donations is here.