One year after camp flooding, Wagon Train keeps making dreams co - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

One year after camp flooding, Wagon Train keeps making dreams come true

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HOLLANDALE, Minn. (KTTC) -- After a devastating flood hit Caledonia just a year ago this week, a camp there thought it might have been impossible to continue this year.

Following a year of restoring the campgrounds, an unlikely group continues to send hundreds of people with disabilities to Camp Winnebago this year.

The campers are heading back this summer in part due to John Davis. He is the wagon master of the Friendship Wagon Train, a caravan of nearly 100 people that travels more than 120 miles over the course of a week during the summer, raising money to send people with disabilities throughout the Midwest to Winnebago.

"I'd like to see it keep going even after I'm gone and stuff so I just keep doing it," said Davis. "You know, the people we help are just special people."

Davis has drawn supporters from across the country to bring campers to one place.

"We have a family here from Tennessee, we have two or three wagons from Missouri, we have wagons from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota," he said. "We're from all over the place here."

Davis keeps it interesting for caravan participants by changing the trail every year. This year, the trail starts in Waseca and winds down to Adams.  Those who ride receive pledges to help fund sponsorships for people to attend the camp.  The group also hosts an auction, which itself helps to raise up to $4,000 for the cause.

On the horizon, Davis hopes to one day make a cross country Friendship Wagon Train from North Carolina to California.

"I've been in touch for years with people from the Special Olympics, of starting one, that's my dream," he said. "If you're a dog sled person, you dream of the Iditarod."

In the end, it's about giving riders a taste of history, a great ride and the comfort of giving back to those in need.

Davis and his Friendship Wagon Train has pledged and raised more than $750,000 to sponsor people to attend Camp Winnebago.

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