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Living Life to the Fullest
Wheeler’s Customer Spotlight, The Dutton Family
David and Kera Dutton, along with their boys, Cole and Pierce, have been shopping at Wheeler’s even before the store expanded to the 40,000-foot dream store it is today. “I would say we have been shopping here since day one,” Kera said. While Kera enjoys stopping by the store to check out the latest fashions, Cole and Pierce enjoy browsing the horse trailer selection, ammunition, hunting equipment, and all of the other outdoor goodies Wheeler’s has to offer. Kera says they love to talk to Ron Douglas (Wheeler’s gun expert) about all the guns because he is so knowledgeable and helps them with anything they are interested in.
The Duttons lead a pretty active lifestyle, as both Cole and Pierce are heavily involved in livestock showing, and each have a passion for hunting. At first glance, the family might seem like any other ordinary Texas family; however, their outlook on life and passionate drive make them more extraordinary than most. In 2007, Cole, who was 5 at the time, and Pierce, who was 3, were both diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Today, both boys are wheel chair bound.
“It is devastating when you find out your kids have a disease that is incurable; you can’t live in the moment, that is for sure,” Kera said. “You have to keep moving forward and lean on God.” Though the initial news came with quite a few adjustments, the family jumped right into trying to normalize their future.
“It has really just been about staying ahead of the curve,” Kera said. The family strives to be proactive in assessing and filling potential needs the boys might have. “We focus on no pity parties,” Kera said.
Every day, when they get home from Geneva School of Boerne, the boys work with their club calves, in preparation for upcoming shows. Throughout show season, Cole and Pierce’s favorite part is, no doubt, the fact they get to miss school; however, they also enjoy being around their friends and the competitive environment found in the show ring.
They also take frequent hunting trips, as well as family road trips in the summer that are typically centered around some kind of hunting. “They have always been into the outdoors,” Kera said. “From the time Cole was very young, he loved wildlife and everything about it. Then, he learned about hunting, and that was it from there.”
This past September, Pierce and David drove to Utah so that Pierce could hunt a Prong Horn Antelope. “We have friends who guide hunts in Utah, and they are used to setting up the hunts for the boys,” said Kera. They stalked the antelope most of the day in a truck, and Pierce found the one he wanted and shot him later that day.
In 2014, Cole and David flew to New Zealand for a hunt. Cole came back with four animals including a Red Stag, an Arapawa Ram, an Elk and a Chamois. Kera says that Cole is now dreaming about “shooting the big five” in Africa.
The family spends a lot of time at their ranch where the boys practice shooting and sighting in their rifles. “They are both good shots, and I feel as if they love hunting because it is something they can do well by themselves, and it gives them some independence,” said Kera. She also noted that a great benefit to their hunts is that they have two freezers full of meat that they eat and share with friends.
Throughout their journey, the boys have never let their disease slow them down in their day-to-day lives. “Most of the time they keep going full force,” Kera explained. “They do not let barriers get in their way.”
While there is no current cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, medical advancements have been made, even in the last 10 years. With support from other local families, faith in God, and a passion for living life to the fullest, the Duttons live a truly inspiring life. Kera expressed how the family is honored to have been chosen as Wheeler’s Western Outfitters’ featured customer of the month.