Sales: 1-877-275-4907 Service: 1-877-275-4912Rentals: 1-877-275-4915

Special Go Kart Lets Wheelchair Users Race at Cincinnati Indoor Racing Facility

Full Throttle Indoor Kart Racing and MobilityWorks Design a Go Kart for All-Inclusive Enjoyment

Full Throttle's go-karts feature a Honda GX270cc engine to reach track speeds up to 40mph!

Back in August of 2014, Aaron Banfield part owner of Full Throttle Indoor Kart Racing came to MobilityWorks of Cincinnati and asked if we could put hand controls on a go kart. Aaron has a heart for the disabled community because he has people in his family that are in wheelchairs.

Chris Phillips, a Certified Mobility Consultant (CMC) and Mike Wylds, our Cincinnati store service technician, worked on a couple different styles of mechanical hand controls until we found one that would work. This go kart is now equipped with a motorcycle style gas and brake. Full Throttle is also adding leg supports, padding and a transfer board to the cart to make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to get in.

Full Throttle unveiled the Kart at a Cincinnati Cyclones game on December 6, 2014 where they drove it on the ice. The Cyclones are Cincinnati’s Kelly Cup Championship winning Hockey Team that is affiliated of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators. They are also affiliated with AHL Milwaukee Admirals.

Full Throttle Indoor Kart Racing will be making the custom go kart racer, uniquely designed for racing enthusiasts that are in a wheelchair, available to the public shortly.

Learn more about Full Throttle Racing here

Full Throttle Racing and Racing4Vets Connection

The Racing4Vets Challenge is an exciting corporate sponsored event, recently held in the Cincinnati area at Full Throttle Indoor Karting in Springdale, OH. Ten corporate relay teams race for one hour on the indoor course. Proceeds from the challenge go to Racing4Vets to assist service-disabled military veterans and their families dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and physical injuries.

Learn more about Racing4Vets here

Housing Grants for Veterans Help Our Injured Military to Purchase Adapted Housing

Self Imposed Limitations & the Benefit of Adaptable Housing Grants

“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life”

– Emma Thompson

On September 10th Chris Melendez did something he hadn’t done before. Sure, he had his share of double leg takedowns, arm bars and half-nelsons; he had gone over the top rope, pinned opponents and played to the crowd, but he had never done it on live TV. Making his TNA wrestling debut against DJ Zema, Melendez who had been training to be a professional wrestler for the previous 24 months demonstrated to the world the power of dedication and positivity.  In 2004, Melendez enlisted in the Army, three years later; with only 23 days left on his deployment he was severely wounded as a result of an IED explosion. An amputation of his left leg, tendon replacement in his arm and a completely reconstructed jaw could not prevent his aspirations from being realized. Speaking after his first television performance, Melendez said “Wherever I am, I aim to rise to the top and be the best at what I’m doing. Here in TNA, I plan to go straight to the top. I have the same mentality I had in the battlefield, the same mentality I had during my recovery. I’m going to be the best,” reminding all of us that limitations are self imposed.

22 million military veterans live in this country, accounting for 10 percent of the total population. 5.5 million of those veterans are living with some form of disability. Since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, of the 3.4 million veterans who suffered a service related disability, 588,000 have a disability rating of 70 percent or greater. Over the past 12 years, the number of service members enduring a disability rating of 70 percent or higher has increased drastically, the common explanation of this is that injuries such as amputations and burns that would have previously resulted in death in previous wars are now often treatable. The disabled veteran population is sizeable; nothing can replace what was lost, but for many in this segment, a disability is not preventing the experience of a full and meaningful life, Chris Melendez exemplifies this.

While not every disabled veteran can become a professional wrestler many can bolster the quality of their lives by becoming homeowners. The VA insured home loan assures this. Offering appealing interest rates, 0 dollars down, relaxed credit guidelines and no private mortgage insurance, this entitlement is incredibly advantageous. Disabled veterans are given special mortgage consideration and are allowed to bypass funding fees. Furthermore, veterans with disabilities may use their disability compensation to qualify for the income requirement.

The VA also offers housing adaptation grants. These allow homes to either be built or remodeled to fit the specific needs of the disabled individual. Numerous housing adaptations can be made, including re-purposed storage space, added stair rails, specialty fixtures (floor showers etc) and ramps just to name a very select few. Even the primary home of a family member can qualify for adaptations if the veteran is intending to make it their permanent address. The SAH grant allows for a maximum of $67,555 to be used while the SHA grant funds up to $13,511.

The sacrifice made by veterans during their service in an effort to protect all of us makes it incumbent upon the country to make sure they are afforded every opportunity to lead rewarding lives as civilians.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grants

Eligibility Living Situation Ownership Number of Grants You Can Use
  • Loss of or loss of use of both legs, OR
  • Loss of or loss of use of both arms, OR
  • Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss of or loss of use of one leg, OR
  • The loss of or loss of use of one lower leg together with residuals of organic disease or injury, OR
  • The loss of or loss of use of one leg together with the loss of or loss of use of one arm, OR
  • Certain severe burns, OR
  • The loss, or loss of use of one or more lower extremities due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair
Permanent Home is owned by an eligible individual Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant

Eligibility Living Situation Ownership Number of Grants You Can Use
  • Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less, OR
  • Loss of or loss of use of both hands, OR
  • Certain severe burn injuries, OR
  • Certain severe respiratory injuries
Permanent Home is owned by an eligible individual or family member Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

This article was written for MobilityWorks, courtesy of Noah Perkins, CMS, VA Home Loan Centers


About VA Loans

In 1944 Congress created the VA Loan program to help returning war veterans achieve the dream of home ownership. Since then, the Department of Veterans Affairs has helped more than 18 million military members purchase homes.

VA loan programs are available to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home. VA loans are particularly beneficial to those veterans that do not have much cash available. VA guidelines allow higher front-end and debt ratios compared to other loan programs and it’s easier to qualify for. The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees mortgages originated by VA Home Loan Centers.

Note: VA Home Loan Centers is not a governmental agency.

“Patriot” Theme Ford Raptor Raises $250,000 at Mecum Auction

Congratulations to The MobilityWorks Foundation on the results of its Ford Raptor sale at the Dallas Mecum Auction. A bid of $250,000 was the highlight of the day. Thank you again to our sponsors: Ford Motor, West Coast Customs, BraunAbility, Magnaflow, Bully Dog, LM Tire & Wheel and BDS Suspension.

Watch Our Ford Raptor Video Here

Bill Koeblitz, MobilityWorks President/CEO is shown with some of the veterans on hand at the Mecum Auction.
A Marine Corps Color Guard led the Ford Raptor to the auction stage.

Gas Stations Designed for Easy Fueling

Do the pumps in your area measure up?

“I always have my husband go to get gas for me… it can be a real pain going to fill up.”

The able-bodied person can go to just about any gas station in the United States and the process to fill up the tank will be the same. They simply get out of the car, truck or SUV, swipe the credit card (or go inside with cash) and in less than five minutes time they are on their way to the next destination. But what if you are in a wheelchair? That process is much different depending on where you go and whether the operating buttons are at accessible height. If the keypad isn’t at a lower height, like the one shown above, they are nearly impossible to reach from a wheelchair. A station with eight pumps may have one with a keypad at a lower height, below 54″ to meet ADA compliance standards — but that doesn’t help with getting in and out of the vehicle. Many stations have a sticker on the pump with a “call for assistance” phone number. But, they are often out of service, no one inside picks up the phone, or it goes to a toll-free 800 number that rings to a remote call center. The process can be described as something that much less than world-class customer service.

For many individuals, refueling means honking the horn to get an attendant’s attention or waiting to ask another station customer for help. Some of our clients told us they have a friend or family member tag along for the ride whenever they need a refuel. “I always have my husband go to get gas for me” said one woman. That’s not always very convenient, especially when travelling. For those who drive a non-converted vehicle with hand controls, assembling and disassembling the wheelchair to get in and out can be a very time-consuming process. Fortunately, there is a better solution that is starting to take hold.

Fuel Call® rings a device inside to let the attendant know that someone needs assistance with re-fueling.

Fuel Call® is the product name of Inclusion Solutions wireless assistance technology that provides the person in a wheelchair with a very a simple, easy way of contacting a gas station attendant. There is no obscure phone number to call. An ADA compliant push-button, positioned at exactly 48″ high directly beside the pump, signals a device inside the station. It has a distinctive ring-tone and flashes a strobe light to let the attendant know there is someone needing help at a pump. It is currently being used at more than 500 stations throughout the country.

Advocacy and Legislation

Getting buy-in from the station owners to make the investment hasn’t been easy. Patrick Hughes, Founder and CEO of Inclusion Solutions says that most owners see placing a sticker on a pump with a phone number as being all that’s needed to be compliant. Whether the call is being answered 100% of the time and assistance is being provided in a timely manner is another story. For Hughes, his products are more about providing better service and retaining good customers. “Why wouldn’t you want that?” – says Hughes. Accessibility has been his passion since becoming friends in college with a fellow student who had cerebral palsy. His other self-designed solutions provide a similar service for restaurants and stores that don’t have an accessible ramp or automatic door. Big Bell™ alerts staff inside that assistance is needed at the door. They typically come out with a portable ramp to go over a threshold or step that can’t easily be removed or redesigned. At least it provides a method of accessibility.

Florida’s Broward County just recently passed a law requiring that gas stations post a phone number on gas pumps or provide an intercom system like Fuel Call® so that drivers can ask for help with refueling. A service station employee is then required by law to offer help. The movement is also picking up some steam with advocacy groups as well. Representatives with the Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) and members of congress are also working toward better gas station accessibility and service. Everyone agrees that honking horns and calling disconnected 800 numbers needs to be a thing of the past.

What’s Your Gas Station Story? Good or Bad…

Do you honk the horn, have a favorite gas station or attendant, have a friend come along for the ride, roll down the window and ask a passer-by for help — or just grin and bear it, getting in and out spending more time at a gas station than most people do to eat their lunch? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

Suiting Our Soldiers – Gary Sinise Foundation, Jos. A. Bank Team Up for Veterans

Buy 1, Get 2, Donate 1 Campaign to Provide Returning Vets with Suits for Job Interviews

In an effort to help our returning heroes re-enter the civilian workforce, clothing giant Jos. A. Bank is teaming up with The Gary Sinise Foundation to provide thousands of veterans with new suits. Many of our veterans come home looking for work not owning a suit or with having a proper fitting one after years of military service overseas.

“Anything we can do for our veterans, I’m looking to support” said actor Gary Sinise in this You Tube video. “Some of our military may only have one suit that they’ve owned for 10 years. When transitioning from military service to the private sector, being able to look sharp when presenting themselves can be very important.”

Uniform of Success

Jos. A. Bank CEO Neal Black expressed in a recent interview that the clothier has been helping veterans causes since WWI and they were looking for ways to help vets with finding jobs. For post-9/11 veterans, the unemployment rate in February 2013 was at 9.2 percent. With the current Jos. A. Bank marketing campaign “Buy 1, Get 2 Free” already under way and having a lot of success, some of their customers suggested donating one of the suits to veterans. The idea was then presented to The Gary Sinise Foundation and ambassador Brian Anderson – who met Sinise at Walter Reed Hospital where he was rehabilitating after losing both legs and his left hand. Anderson was on Fox & Friends Sunday morning promoting the program. According to Anderson, when Gary Sinise first saw him Sinise said “Holy crap, it’s the real Lt. Dan” in reference to his role as Lt. Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump. The movie won the 1994 Academy Award for best picture.

The campaign runs from July 1st to July 7th and can be applied to in-store and online purchases. You can get more information and shop for suits to help our veterans at Jos. A. Bank here.