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New sailing scholarship honors longtime Duluth wheelchair, outdoor accessibility advocate – Duluth News Tribune

New sailing scholarship honors longtime Duluth wheelchair, outdoor accessibility advocate – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Scott Anderson was 15 when he was shot, suffering a spinal twine injuries that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

It was an accident, teens spinning the cylinder of a revolver, goofing all over, when it went off. Anderson’s lifetime was permanently changed.

Some men and women may say that Anderson, who grew up in Cloquet, was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his lifestyle. But the term confined doesn’t match Scott Anderson in the the very least.

“I was in the mistaken area at the erroneous time,” Anderson explained in a 2014 interview. “Stuff comes about, you know, lifetime goes on. … Right here I am in this posture now. I’m not likely to truly feel sorry for myself. Let’s obtain out what I can do. … The simple fact I was in a wheelchair did not feel like that huge a offer to me. That’s the playing cards I was dealt and that is the cards I was likely to perform.”

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Scott Anderson with a nice walleye he caught.

Contributed / Eric Larson

Anderson turned a competitive wheelchair basketball player, helped located the Twin Ports Flyers wheeled group, and excelled at wheelchair softball. But it was his love of the outdoor and out of doors sports wherever Anderson thrived most — especially sailing, skiing, fishing, hunting and archery.

“He never complained. Scottie was under no circumstances bitter. He just went out and did it, and he tried all the things, and he was ordinarily good at all the things he tried,” stated Anderson’s longtime mate Eric Larson, who heads the adaptive sports activities method for

Braveness Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Northland

in Duluth. “And then he would assist other people do what he loved.”

Anderson died Feb. 21

immediately after a fight with bladder most cancers. He was 64. A celebration of his lifestyle function will be held Saturday, March 11, at the Shriner’s Middle in Hermantown. But Anderson’s legacy will reside on in numerous approaches.

“He was a big advocate for the Individuals with Disabilities Act. He even was invited to the White Property when they signed the invoice,” Larson said. “He was involved not just as a participant in all these out of doors actions, but also as a volunteer teacher.”


Sailing was Anderson’s very first appreciate. In a 2019 job interview with the Information Tribune, Anderson recalled looking at others becoming lifted from their wheelchairs into a sailboat and then environment off solo on the drinking water.

“It’s these a feeling of flexibility, going along the h2o with just the wind,” Anderson claimed. “It’s seriously challenging to explain what that feels like for an individual in a chair.”

Anderson was a significant pressure driving the Duluth Parks and Recreation Office generating the Twin Ports Youth Sailing Application in the 1980s. He went on to grow to be energetic in the regional sailing club, the Duluth Excellent Sailing Association, elevating the application to official nonprofit position and developing the club’s Sailing for All program to extend participation, not just for people with disabilities and accessibility problems, but also those people who might not have the funds or connections to get concerned with sailing.

Scott Anderson sailing

Scott Anderson pilots a 2.5-meter sailboat on Outstanding Bay in the Duluth harbor.

Contributed / Courage Kenny Northland

Which is why a new scholarship has been produced in Anderson’s title: to get much more persons in much more boats through the association.

“It’s going to remove barriers for persons to get into sailing who otherwise almost certainly wouldn’t or couldn’t, not just accessibility concerns, but revenue or no matter what,” Larson stated. “Sailing in Duluth is not some hoity-toity, white-collar activity. It is a blue-collar sport below, and Scottie was a big aspect of that.”

Jim Sharrow, president of the Duluth Excellent Sailing Affiliation, said Anderson was critical in acquiring the method.

“His involvement wasn’t just for adaptive sailing, but for everyone who needs to go out,” Sharrow explained. “This affiliation was formed as a group association, to get anyone out who desires to go, and Scottie just embodied that.”

He was a guy in a wheelchair who did not have boundaries.

Eric Larson

Sunny Helbacka, who worked as a recreation specialist for the metropolis of Duluth, reported Anderson was instrumental in bringing other wheelchair archers to the Irving Neighborhood Center to train ready-bodied kids how to shoot a bow.

“Scottie was really, really good at archery. … But that integration they had with the little ones, to have them interact with the people today in wheelchairs, to see what they have been capable of, was actually crucial,” Helbacka stated.

Helbacka and Anderson eventually traveled together to Florida to contend in an global opposition for the 2.4-meter sailboats applied in the Duluth community application, noting Anderson could have been a person of the to start with paraplegics in the U.S. to solo sail.

“When we initially got Scottie in one particular of our home made boats, I went to a conference where by they were being bragging about having persons in wheelchairs out sailing. … And I claimed, very well, we have ours out sailing on their very own,” Helbacka claimed.

two white men in ball caps and t-shirts hold fishing poles in a Lund fishing boat

Shawn Corbin, still left, and Scott Anderson, of Duluth, hold out for a bite in Anderson’s boat on Fish Lake. A celebration of Anderson’s existence will be held Saturday, March 11, at the Shriner’s Center in Hermantown from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Clint Austin / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune

Anderson also beloved to fish. He had his individual boat, but he also pushed officials to develop wheelchair-available fishing piers, both in Duluth and on various lakes in Minnesota’s Arrowhead where by the Exceptional Nationwide Forest had campgrounds.

“We applied to fish muskies with each other pretty a little bit and he would be out there, with fundamentally no abs, no muscular tissues below his chest, throwing all those massive plugs all day extensive with all arm toughness,” Larson mentioned.

Anderson by no means turned down a request to support with a program or party aimed at serving to people today who acquired new spinal twine or mind accidents, mentoring youth and adults in daily life techniques as very well athletics.

Anderson’s expert career commenced as a disability advocate in 1988 as director of the Duluth workplace of The Center for Independent Living of Northeastern Minnesota. He afterwards moved throughout the harbor to grow to be the added benefits counselor at North Place Independent Dwelling in Top-quality, wherever he assisted people today with disabilities deal with their gains and find employment. He also started a ramp-setting up program that proceeds to this working day.

“Scottie was genuinely a pioneer in adaptive recreation,” Larson mentioned. “He was a man in a wheelchair who did not have limits.”

An open up household celebration of everyday living for Scott Anderson will be held at the Shriners Conference and Occasion Heart, 5152 Miller Trunk Freeway, Hermantown, on Saturday, March 11, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Memorials can be produced to the Scott R. Anderson Sailing for All Memorial Fund at the Duluth Exceptional Sailing Association, P. O. Box 3094, Duluth, MN 55803. Generate checks to “DSSA” with the notation “Scott R. Anderson Fund.” Donations can also be created through DSSA’s PayPal account at

[email protected]

.