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Tractor Dave rolling into town

He’ll tell his story at Lohrville on Aug. 6, Corpus Christi on Aug. 7

July 30, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Tractor Dave rolls into Fort Dodge on Aug. 6 after spending time at the Catholic church in Lohrville.

Dave Wolfsen hopes to raise awareness for the Foods Resource Bank and Disaster Relief Services, an arm of the Christian Reform Church.

He will speak at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lohrville at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 6 and will be at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fort Dodge from 7:30 to 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 7.

"At these events, I give about a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation on the Foods Resource Bank and DRS," Wolfsen said. "We're known as the green shirts."

He said DRS provides up an average of 3,500 volunteers "going out with money and materials to do reconstruction, needs assessment and estimating costs. They also have volunteers who work with FEMA directly after a disaster."

Both programs, he said, are important to the country and the world.

Referring to the Foods Resource Bank, he said, "Their answer to world hunger is not bringing something to eat. They're more inclined to go to families who cannot feed themselves and teach them how to sustain themselves. They've been at it 12 years now. Those they have helped are not going out among their peers and helping in the same way. It's a bit contagious."

Wolfsen, 66, retired six years ago after 36 years as an International Harvester farm equipment dealer.

"My dream was to drive a tractor all around the United States," he said. "And I combined that with helping people in need."

He had planned to drive through the contiguous 48 states, but found himself overwhelmed at the start of his journey.

"About 10 days before I left, Fox News got hold of the story, and it went national news," Wolfsen said. "It was nonstop interviews after that. I tried to keep up the pace, but I ran out of gas. I became disoriented. It was a big window of opportunity for me, and I couldn't get through it."

When first on the road, he was pulling a camper behind his tractor. When he was pulled off the road for recuperation, that fifth-wheel camper clamped on the back of a pickup, and one or two people are with him at all times.

Before his disorientation problem, Wolfsen had been in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.

"That's where it happened," he said. "I went home then for two weeks, and we came back out again July 5, but this time we're just doing the Midwest."

That started with Indiana and Illinois, then through Iowa headed to Nebraska, he said. "But we couldn't get across the Missouri River, so we traveled through Iowa to South Dakota. We're doing a loop here in Minnesota, and then into Iowa. We'll exit in Wisconsin and take the Badger, a ferry, home to Michigan."

This tractor trip is a fundraiser, he said. "I'm doing it for Foods Resource Bank and Disaster Relief Services. They're sharing the proceeds. It's more to raise awareness of both organizations. Someone may be interested in knowing what they are."

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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