The 37th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games is right around the corner. The games are being held in Cincinnati, Ohio from July 17th to July 22nd, 2017. Local Cincinnati venues where most of the events are being held include: Duke Energy Convention Center; Stargel Stadium; Fairfield Sportsmen’s Association; and the Powel Crosley Jr YMCA. There are 19 different sports to watch and attendance is free.
The games will also feature a Kids Day on the 19th for children with disabilities in the Cincinnati area.
Co-presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), athletes from all over the United States will be participating in the games. Any veteran with a spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, amputations and other neurological injuries that uses a wheelchair for sport, and is eligible for care through the VA, can participate!
While in town enjoying the games, stop at the Recreation & Fitness Expo located at the Duke Energy Center, Booth #129 on Monday, July 17th. We will have an exhibit, and look forward to seeing you.
To learn more about the NVWG and how to volunteer click here.
The country duo Florida Georgia Line are quickly becoming some of the biggest stars in music. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard released their third album last year, and have been touring all over North America in 2017. As a part of their “Dig your Roots” tour the group decided they wanted to do something special. Earlier this month they donated an all-terrain wheelchair to retired Army Staff Sergeant Shane Savage. Shane and his family also received free tickets to the show — and just days prior were told the exciting news that they would get to meet the band and be part of a special presentation.
To make this all possible, the band partnered with The Independence Fund, a non-profit organization based out of Charlotte, NC that was founded in 2007. Over the past 10 years, they have donated 1,750 off-road power chairs to America’s heroes. The organization has also received national media attention with the support of Fox News.
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The wheelchair that was donated is an Action Trackchair, which instead of wheels, has a durable rubber track similar to that of a military vehicle. This allows the user to travel across practically any terrain including water, mud or snow. It comes complete with an easy to maneuver joystick control and can be tilted 20 degrees in any direction.
Florida Georgia Line will be donating several more wheelchairs as they continue their tour this summer. Congratulations to Shane and we thank you for your service to our country!
Click here for more information on The Independence Fund and to find out how you can get involved.
Several veteran and mobility related organizations have been working together for months to help get House Bill 3471 passed. Known as the Veterans Mobility Safety Act, it now only needs President Obama to sign the bill into law which is expected to happen later this month.
The Veterans Mobility Safety Act will require vendors who supply veterans with accessible equipment to demonstrate compliance with quality and safety standards. The money that veterans receive for accessible products comes from the Automobile Adaptive Equipment program (AAE). Organizations such as Paralyzed Veterans of America and NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealer Association) applauded the new regulations.
“Requiring that vendors offering AAE services be certified in accordance with minimum quality and safety standards is simply a matter of common-sense.” said Dave Hubbard, CEO of NMEDA.
Several other veteran-related bills passed in the house this week and will now go to the senate for consideration. An amendment to the No Hero Left Untreated Act calls for a one-year pilot program. Under this act, veterans returning from overseas will receive free care and treatment for conditions like PTSD, TBI and chronic pain. The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2016 was created last week. It will require the Department of Labor to better recognize employers’ efforts to recruit and retain veteran employees.
Here at MobilityWorks, we are proud to assist our veterans every day, and we thank them for their service and sacrifices. Click here for more information on Veterans Assistance Resources.
MobilityWorks is a member of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), which supports more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the U.S. and Canada. NMEDA is committed to providing citizens with safe and reliable adaptive transportation through our Quality Assurance Program (QAP) and QAP Accredited Dealers like MobilityWorks.
Beginning October 1, 2016, eligible Service Members and Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities were granted an increase in the VA Auto Allowance program of (no more than) $20,235 toward the purchase of a vehicle. This is a one-time lifetime grant. Those qualified for the automobile grant may also qualify for the adaptive equipment grant, which is not limited to one time use.
It’s important to note that all individuals need to have prior VA approval before purchasing a vehicle.
Adaptive Equipment Eligibility
Certain Service Members and Veterans may also be eligible for adaptive equipment grants. This type of equipment may include things like power seats and special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person into and out of the vehicle. Wheelchair lifts and scooter stowage devices are other examples.
As with the Auto Allowance program, all individuals must have prior VA approval before purchasing any adaptive equipment.
Scheduling a Needs Analysis at MobilityWorks
Veterans who qualify for the Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants are encouraged to contact a MobilityWorks consultant to schedule a free needs analysis and ingress/egress assessment with your current wheelchair or mobility scooter. We can also help you to obtain the necessary requirement and procedure information from the local VA Medical Center. Conversion manufacturers and other industry suppliers may also provide veterans with discounted pricing and/or rebates.
Brandon Long was on his first deployment in Afghanistan in 2010 when he lost his legs to an IED blast just 2 days before his daughter Claire was born. Thanks to the MobilityWorks team and nonprofit Help Our Military Heroes, this deserving hero received the keys to a new BraunAbility Chrysler Town and Country.
Brandon Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice
Brandon was on foot patrol with his unit when he stepped on an IED. The young man’s squad worked hard to save his life.
“I remember flying through the air and I landed on my right side,” Brandon said of the explosion. “It was really hard to breathe, I couldn’t see anything but a cloud of dust. I remember speaking to the man upstairs and he was telling me my daughter was going to be on the way and I needed to look after her and my wife. He said because of your wife and daughter I am giving you a second chance.”
By the time he arrived at the hospital, Brandon lost 98% of his blood volume and had to be resuscitated multiple times. He was then airlifted to Germany.
“I was 9 months pregnant at the time,” Brandon’s wife Nicole said. “My cell phone rang and they said Brandon had stepped on an IED. All they knew was that he lost his legs and he was in critical condition. I didn’t know what to expect and I was terrified. I didn’t know what his emotions would be. But seeing him meet his daughter for the first time was amazing and overwhelming all at the same time.”
Brandon came home to the United States to recover in Maryland for 2 years. The young family has since moved to St. Augustine, Florida. The journey was tough but Brandon has adapted to all the changes. Homes For Our Troops built Brandon, Nicole and 5-year-old Claire an accessible home. The next step was for Brandon to get back on the road with a new wheelchair accessible minivan.
MobilityWorks Helps Brandon
“Tammy Phipps, a VA representative from Walter Reed in Maryland, referred Brandon to our store,” Tampa General Manager Brian Stuckey said. “Tammy also put Brandon in touch with Ted and Laurie Hollander, founders of Help Our Military Heroes [HOMH]. Brandon decided to work with HOMH and MobilityWorks based on our reputation.”
The Tampa team helped Brandon throughout the process so his vehicle would be safe for his family.
“We installed hand controls, a spinner knob and a transfer seat base,” Brian said. “The vehicle is a BraunAbility Town and Country with a power infloor ramp.”
The MobilityWorks team was proud to assist this young hero as he regains his freedom.
“Brandon is a great guy,” Brian said. “He is 5 years older than my son so I felt an instant connection. It is going to change his life and his little girl will be able to sit in the back and watch DVDs. The family is very happy with their new van. Brandon made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and I am thrilled that we could help him in any way possible.”
Laurie from Help Our Military Heroes agreed with Brian.
“Live a life worthy of their sacrifice,” Laurie said. “That’s my motto. It is part of my prayer every day.”
Brandon is grateful for all the help he has received.
“I don’t know where our family would be without help from people like them,” Brandon said. “The van is amazing and I still can’t believe it’s mine. To be able to hold the keys in my hand-it’s just amazing.”
The Tampa CBS and Fox News Affiliates were on hand during the van presentation. Click here to see Brandon get the keys to his new BraunAbility van at our Tampa store.