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Tennessee Organizations Helping Elderly and Disabled Residents

We often have organizations asking if we can share a link on our website so that visitors can benefit from the services they provide. In this post we are focusing on a few organizations helping our friends in Nashville and Chattanooga TN. If you have an organization that you would like to submit for future inclusion, tell us about what you do at marketing@mobilityworks.com. We will be highlighting organizations and non-profit groups helping the disabled community for each of MobilityWorks’ 12 states in future posts.

Tennesee Resources

Tennessee Disability Coalition

The Coalition is an alliance of organizations and individuals who have joined to promote the full and equal participation of men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. We work together to advocate for public policy that ensures self-determination, independence, empowerment, and inclusion for people with disabilities in areas such as accessibility, education, healthcare, housing, and voting rights.

Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability

The goal of Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability is to advocate for and to strive to achieve a system of services that allows older persons and persons with disabilities the opportunity for an independent and productive lifespan. This is accomplished through three primary areas of emphasis: Advocacy, Service, and Planning.

Signal Centers

Signal Centers is comprised of four programs – Adult Services, Assistive Technology Services, Children’s Services and the Child Care Resource & Referral Network. Signal Centers Children’s Services support over 120 children with disabilities at three Tennessee locations – Chattanooga, Cleveland and Athens. Signal Centers also offers an adult day program for adults over 55 with disabilities. The Assistive Technology Services was created in 1991 and is located at 2300 Bailey Avenue in Chattanooga. AT Services assesses individuals with disabilities of all ages and recommends technology to enhance self-sufficiency.

Team Centers

TEAM Centers, Inc (originally “TEAM Evaluation Center”) is a private, non-profit agency started as a collaborative initiative by local community leaders, the Medical Society, and the Metropolitan Council. TEAM helps with the evaluation and assessment of people with developmental disabilities across all ages. They focus on developmental medicine, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and social work.

Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid South Chapter

The Mid South Chapter of the National MS Society is a community of individuals who are committed to achieving a world free of MS. The Chapter helps over 9,000 individuals throughout Tennessee, northern Georgia, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas impacted by MS to move their lives forward. We provide comprehensive support services and educational programs to people with MS, their family and friends, and raise funds locally to support the National MS Society’s research initiatives.

Visit Us in Nashville or Chattanooga

Our Nashville store is just off of I-24 Waldron Road exit in La Vergne TN. Located in Davidson County in the north central part of the state, it is Tennessee’s second largest city with a population of more than 600,000 (second only to Memphis). Nashville also serves as the state capital. Visit our Nashville web page.

Our Chattanooga showroom and service location is just off I-75 and the E. Brainerd Rd exit. Chattanooga is in the southeast portion of the state in Hamilton County. The Tennessee River runs right through the heart of downtown, providing a unique urban experience. Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in the state. Visit our Chattanooga web page.

MobilityWorks, Marietta, & MS Walk

Marietta MS Walk

MobilityWorks of Marietta, Georgia was a proud sponsor of Walk MS held in downtown Marietta on Saturday April 20th.  In addition to sponsoring one of the break points along the walk, MobilityWorks provided two wheelchair accessible vans to assist participants who needed help finishing the route.  Scott Creel, a Certified Mobility Consultant in Marietta with 18 years of experience in the mobility industry, drove a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country with a conversion made by BraunAbility.

With over 1,200 walkers participating in the walk, Scott made multiple trips and made many new friends along the route.

MobilityWorks provides wheelchair accessible vehicles and modifications that help people who have physical challenges caused by multiple sclerosis and other conditions.  To read about all the products offered by MobilityWorks, vist www.mobilityworks.com.

MobilityWorks of Albany Presented with the Ralph Braun Signature Award for Second Straight Year

Our MobilityWorks of Albany Team
Dean Pells (center) and the MobilityWorks of Albany Team with Brian Harper of BraunAbility (left).

MobilityWorks Albany New York Store Among the Highest in Customer Satisfaction in the USA

Each year, the Ralph Braun Signature Award is presented to only a handful of BraunAbiliy dealerships with the highest average customer satisfaction rates in the country — based on independent survey results from the previous year. It is our honor to report that our MobilityWorks of Albany (NY) store was presented with this distinguished award for the SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR – and the HIGHEST scores in the Northeast Region.

Congratulations to General Manager Dean Pells and the rest of our Albany Team, as they continue to provide world class customer service year round!

Go to the Albany store web page to learn more and meet the team.

Planning for Future Travels When Driving Across the Border

passport card or book options
When travelling by car across the Canadian or Mexican border, the “passport card” is a lower cost option to consider.

Passport Issues to Know About When Driving Across the Border

Now that you’ve purchased a wheelchair van and plan on visiting destinations in Canada or Mexico, you need to prepare ahead of time for obtaining a passport. You can no longer drive across the border with just a state issued license and birth certificate. If you’re thinking about taking a trip, here are a few things to be aware of.

1. A new passport card option, similar to a driver’s license, is now available for driving across the border versus flying. It is a less expensive option if you don’t plan on flying or travelling to other countries in the near future.

2. Getting a new passport book or card can take 4 to 6 weeks, so plan ahead and take the steps necessary to acquire one as soon as possible. If a passport is needed in a hurry (2 to 4 weeks), there are expedited options available for an additional $60 per applicant.

3. Necessary items and information when completing your application:

– Recent driver’s license or government issued ID and Social Security Number
– Certified birth certificate, issued by the city, county or state – not a plain copy
– Both parent’s first, middle and last names (including mother’s maiden name)
– Both parents birth dates and place of birth (city and state)
– Color photo(s) to size, one for passport card only, two for passport book and card

Note: It is recommended that you go to a service outlet for obtaining your passport pictures. Passport photos must be printed on photo quality paper, 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size, so that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. Costs for having passport photos taken at a local pharmacy, portrait photographer or copy/print service provider ranges from $10 to $15.

Applicant Fees

The State Department website lists updated Adult Passport Book and Card options plus the Execution Fee. Go here to learn more about your application options, fees and payment methods.

NOTE: All first time applicants must apply in person at a Passport Agency, Acceptance Facility, U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Examples of passport acceptance facilities may include the Local Post Office or County Library. A passport card is valid for up to 10 years for adults (16 years or older) and 5 years for minors (under age 16).

Traveling With Pets and Other Restrictions

There are some restrictions on what you can take across the border. It’s important to check with each country’s website to see what is allowed and what is not allowed, such as fresh fruit, liquor and firearms. Dogs and cats may be brought to Canada, as long as they are accompanied by a veterinarian-signed document that indicates the animal’s breed and physical description — as well as proof they are up to date with their rabies shots. Dog or cat food containing beef or lamb byproducts, however, are not allowed.

Accessible Travel Made Easier

There are plenty of websites on the internet for finding information about accessible vacations and recommended destinations for people in wheelchairs. There’s even a few apps being  developed to assist with finding accessible bathrooms.

Planning ahead and preparing for your next road trip adventure can avoid disappointing delays. Getting your passport book, passport card (or both) as early as possible will help to make planning for the rest of your vacation as stress free as possible.

Mobility Legend Ralph Braun Leaves a Legacy of Helping People to Regain Their Independence

Ralph Braun was a caring and humble individual who always had time for his employees and customers.

Ralph Braun (1940 – 2013)

Most people in the United States don’t know who Ralph Braun is, but for thousands of disabled people and to those who live in the small town of Winamac Indiana, he is a true legend. If you’ve ever been on a bus or shuttle van with a wheelchair lift, chances are that it was made by The Braun Corporation. His vision, wisdom, and the perseverance to overcome the challenges of his own disability, resulted in the availability of wheelchair lifts and accessible minivans worldwide.

As a young man, Ralph decided to build his own electric scooter out of spare parts and whatever tools he could find in his parents garage. He later called it “Frankenstein”. He would drive his scooter on the road from his parent’s house to work every day, rain or shine, where he was quality control manager for an auto parts manufacturer. When others learned about his invention and wanted him to build more scooters, he decided to create Save-a-Step Manufacturing to build the first production-made motorized scooter – all while still working a full-time job.

When the auto parts factory had to be moved farther away, he needed to transport himself and the scooter in order to keep working. With this challenge and his ingenuity, the first Braun wheelchair lift and postal truck van was born in 1966. Four years later, in 1970, he made a lift for traditional full-size vans. With injured soldiers coming home from the Viet-Nam war, his lift business continued to grow and eventually became a full-time passion. In 1972, The Braun Corporation was created.

It wasn’t until 1991 that The Braun Corporation introduced its first wheelchair accessible minivan. The ramp conversion of a Dodge Grand Caravan was the start of today’s popular BraunAbility Entervan – and the lowered floor accessible minivan industry as we know it today.

Thanks to Ralph Braun, the disabled community has more options to ride in a vehicle of their choice. They now have the ability to go where they want to go, when they want to go. Thousands of Braun wheelchair lifts are being used around the world in both commercial vans and personal-use consumer vehicles. Thousands more minivans are being used by individuals with automated and manual fold-out ramps – for wheelchairs and scooters.

The MobilityWorks family has truly lost a friend who will never be forgotten. No one has had such a profound impact on the disabled community’s ability to travel — and the lives of so many families. Ralph surrounded himself with a leadership team at The Braun Corporation that will continue his vision and passion for helping the customer. We are proud to be a partner with the company he started from those very humble beginnings. He leaves with us a legacy of helping countless people to regain their independence. We will miss him greatly.

Note: Ralph Braun’s book “Rise Above” tells his inspirational life story. Available through Amazon.com, sales proceeds help to raise funds for The Ralph Braun Foundation.