MobilityWorks’ Beltsville location was proud to present wheelchair vans to John, a triple amputee and Purple Heart Recipient, and Andrew, a quadriplegic single father. The double wheelchair van presentation came together thanks to nonprofits Help our Military Heroes [HOMH] and the Semper Fi Fund, as well as Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist Tammy Phipps and a generous area veteran. John and Andrew received their keys to freedom with help from Certified Mobility Consultant Sherry and the rest of the Beltsville team.
Army Veteran John Works with Help Our Military Heroes
Army Master Sergeant John Masson received his second accessible vehicle thanks to Help Our Military Heroes and the Semper Fi Fund. In 2010 John stepped on an IED and lost an arm and both of his legs. His training allowed him to help his fellow Medical Sergeant treat the wounds, saving his life. John earned a Purple Heart for his heroism. John, a North Carolina resident, was planning to trade in his previous wheelchair van to help him acquire a newer one. Andrew, a local quadriplegic, planned to purchase John’s previous van.
Marine Veteran Tim Surprises Andrew
In 2005, Andrew Yelicie was the victim of a gunshot wound when he was 21 years old. Andrew worked hard in rehabilitation for several years, but he wanted to focus on becoming independent so he could raise his now 14-year-old daughter as a single father. Andrew attended George Mason University and recently graduated with a degree in Accounting. His wheelchair van had been in an accident several weeks before and caught on fire as he drove. Luckily, Andrew was able to get out, but he no longer had reliable transportation.
Marine Staff Sergeant Tim Brown, another triple amputee veteran who received assistance from Help our Military Heroes, read Andrew’s story and decided to help. Tim has had a successful recovery and is able to use prosthetics, so he now drives an SUV. He had a 2011 BraunAbility Toyota Sienna minivan that he no longer needed. After seeing Andrew’s story, Tim decided to pay it forward and give the young father his accessible van for free.
Andrew thought he was coming into the Beltsville location to see if John’s previous van would work. Instead, he was surprised when Tim said he would give Andrew his Toyota minivan for free.
John and Tim Get their Wheelchair Vans
Fox 5 DC joined MobilityWorks to witness the double wheelchair van presentation.
“Everyone is over the moon with their vans,” Certified Mobility Consultant Sherry said. “Andrew received his van, which needs a few small repairs, for free. The van donation will provide Andrew with the ability to look for a job. He just received his degree in accounting and will use the van to go on interviews. John travels often with his wife and kids, so he needed a newer van.”
Sherry was proud to help John and Andrew regain their independence.
“I would personally like to thank Tammy for allowing me to be part of such an awesome group of people,” Sherry said. “I’d also like to thank the employees of MobilityWorks who pitched in to make the presentation happen. Congratulations to Andrew and John! We will see you on the road.”