Dick Ourada is using his little tractor to spark a conversation about research for underfunded children’s medical conditions. He stopped in Stettler on Aug. 12. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

Dick Ourada is using his little tractor to spark a conversation about research for underfunded children’s medical conditions. He stopped in Stettler on Aug. 12. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

Man driving tractor from Colorado to Alaska for children’s medical research stops in Stettler

Dick Ourada is raising money for children’s medical research

A man on an incredible fund-raising journey stopped in Stettler on Aug. 12.

Six decades ago, Dick Ourada nearly lost his infant daughter due to a rare issue with feeding.

He raced his daughter to the local Children’s Hospital. At the time parents were not allowed in the facility, and Ourada and his wife spent the night not knowing whether their daughter had made it or not.

When they checked in the next morning, the nurse notified them that they had done some research, found a solution and their daughter was feeding well by bottle.

The solution was an, at the time, $0.75 nipple that fit on a Coke bottle that allowed the baby to feed.

Now in his 80s, the circumstances of that situation have never been far from his mind. According to Ourada, there is plenty of money for “celebrity diseases” like cancer, however lesser known illnesses and issues, such as the feeding issue his daughter faced, remain underfunded.

A couple of years ago, pre-COVID, Ourada and his wife, Carolee, decided to upgrade their home in Fairbanks. Ourada made arrangements to purchase a tractor, a 1977 International 574, to help him clear land on his property.

When discussing whether they should have the machine shipped up to Fairbanks or not, Ourada wondered, “why not do some good in the world?”

“Aggie’s Tractor Trip for Kids” was born. Instead of shipping the tractor, he decided he would drive it from Colorado to his home in Fairbanks to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Colorado.

“The little red tractor seemed like a good calling card,” said Ourada.

Ourada purchased the tractor in Iowa, but had it transported to Colorado, which is where he started his journey to Fairbanks on July 13. Initially planned to take 45 days, Ourada now plans to complete the trip in 60 to 70 days due to weather and mechanical issues that have hampered the journey.

Since starting the trip to raise awareness for the under-funded medical research areas, Ourada says he has met two other people who had dealt with the same feeding issue as his daughter leading him to believe the issue may be bigger than thought which is solidifying his want to get more research going.

Joining Dick on his Journey is Carolee, who is running their motorhome/support-vehicle behind the slow moving tractor.

According to the Children’s Hospital Foundation Colorado website, which is handling the fundraising for the trip, a little over $7,500 has been raised towards the $100,000 goal. For those wishing to donate, visit www.tractortrip.com.

While Stettler was not initially one of Ourada’s planned stops, he ended up coming through Stettler as the local NAPA dealer had a part he needed.

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