Dennis Schulze wants good news on the front page of every newspaper. And if he has to make the news himself, so be it.
“Everybody says there’s bad in this world. There’s not,” said Schulze, a native of Beloit, Wis. “The reason why there’s bad in this world is because nobody publicizes the good.
Schulze, who uses a wheelchair, is doing his part to bring some goodness to the world. He’s traveling by chair from Beloit to Wrigley Field while espousing his slogan, “Let’s pull together for those who can’t walk together.”
He said the 100-mile trip in the dead of winter is a fundraiser for five different charities ranging from those that serve wounded veterans and Alzheimer’s and cancer patients to the March of Dimes and an organization fighting child abuse.
Schulze, 55, chose Wrigley Field as his destination because of his lifelong affinity for the Cubs. “I was born in ’61 and I’ve been a fan since ’59,” he said of the team, some of whom he’d like to meet once he makes it to Wrigley Field. He thinks he’ll arrive there sometime before the New Year.
His path from Beloit to Wrigleyville brought him through Woodstock Dec. 20, when he and his friend, Joan Sohn, who is helping him on his journey, stayed overnight at First United Methodist Church. Schulze said Rev. Kurt Gamlin welcomed them with open arms, something he’s found a lot of since leaving Jane’s Cafe in Beloit Dec. 16.
“I have so many people in this town wanting to give me money,” Schulze said, although he turns it down and directs them to GoFundMe pages instead. “It’s not about that. I don’t want anything in my pocket.”
He said police officers have stopped to make sure he’s alright and give him travel advice along the way. Rather than having an exact route planned out, he and Sohn, who follows behind him in a car with the blinkers flashing, consult their GPS as they go. They try to travel about 10 miles a day.
Schulze, a former truck driver, had part of his leg amputated following a horrific crash in which he was hit by another semi that had swerved to avoid colliding with a police car. He said the next day, his father died of complications from Alzheimer’s. About a year later, his mother died of cancer. These events helped inspire Schulze’s charitable efforts.
“It ain’t all poor me, poor me,” he said. “It ain’t. I’m sitting here talking to you. There are a lot of people who can’t do that.”
Sohn called Schulze “amazing.”
“I wanted to do this so I’d make sure he was safe,” she said. Sohn said she was enjoying the trip and only planned to leave for one night — Christmas Eve — before rejoining Schulze for the rest of his journey.
Schulze hopes everyone who hears his story makes at least a small donation, but he’s hoping for special support from his truck-driving peers.
“I want everyone to donate just a dollar,” he said. “What’s a dollar this time of year?”
For links to donate, visit Schulze’s Facebook page, Dennis’s Journey, at https://www.facebook.com/denniss.journey.