As the end of the journey approaches for “Tractor Dave” Wolfsen, he cannot help but battle mixed emotions.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet deal,” Wolfsen said. “You are glad to go home on one hand, but on the other hand, something that I will always cherish is drawing to a close.”
Since re-launching his ride July 5, Wolfsen has driven his 1937 Co-op tractor through several Midwest states to raise funds and awareness for the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services (DRS), raising more than $32,000.
Tractor Dave talks to a young couple at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“We put together a very successful series of events,” Wolfsen said. “As you look back, you see the different situations and the different people you have encountered—people you know you have touched along the way. I’m going to miss that.”
When The Banner caught up with Wolfsen on Tuesday, he was in Urbandale, Iowa, for the FRB annual meeting. He had just reunited with his wife, Deborah, along with several DRS volunteers from Grand Rapids, Mich., who came out to show their support.
After a series of well-attended events the weekend prior, Wolfsen said his focus was on the final events yet to come. He plans to attend an event in Randolph, Wis., Friday night, then head to Oostburg, Wis., on Saturday. On Monday he will take the S.S. Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan to his hometown of Fremont, Mich.
“I am looking forward to friends and family and the community I came from,” Wolfsen said. “It will be back to the life I’m accustomed to, rather than life on the road. I’m looking forward to a little stability again.”
A group of supporters is expected to meet Wolfsen and welcome him home, including his grandchildren, who are excited about a ride on Grandpa’s tractor, Wolfsen said. But first, he has a few more days to reflect on what he has learned from this experience and also think about what lies ahead.
“I have already started to apply some of the things I have learned along the way,” Wolfsen said. “It’s not necessarily all about fundraising. It’s more about raising awareness so people understand better what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and what the organizations are all about because funding follows awareness. It changes the way you approach it—you approach it more from an educational perspective.
“Where we go from here is going to be the big question,” Wolfsen said. “At this point it’s still up to the Lord and where he’s going to lead things.”