—by Patrick Rimke


Since our noble volunteers are all camera shy, let me take you on a tour of their world. First, the long set of steps the volunteers must climb up to our second floor warehouse space.

Although we have not received donations from Invacare since 2012, we are keeping busy. We were found by Medwish last year and received over a hundred wheelchairs from them. Our new board member, Patrick Simons, in Dubois PA, brings us about 30 wheelchairs and other items every year. The Hatti Lharlum Foundation is supplying us with tilt-in-space wheelchairs a few times a year.

We also have our worse-case chairs. They are the ones that have been sitting on shelves while we focused on the chairs in better condition. Some of the inventory tags are from 1998. Many are very dusty and may have surface rust.


At the top of the steps is our recycle and storage area for all things misfit. Here we stage equipment for parts, or deconstruct them to recycle the steel and aluminum.

Our volunteers have their work cut out for them. We are blessed to have their dedication, when they finish one, sometimes in two to three days, it looks very good, not new, but in very usable condition. The amount of TLC these chairs require is very time consuming for the volunteers, but these men cheerfully go the distance, week after week.

We get creative with some of them. We do not have matching upholstery so it may have a red seat, green back and gray arm pads. This may start a new trend in custom wheelchair designs! We are also making some of the wider chairs into narrow ones using smaller seat and back upholstery, because there is little need overseas for seating over 20” wide.

Tires, front and rear, are the next big challenge, some are worn down to the plastic wheel. We used most of our stock of good and new wheels last year and sent many replacement wheels to the Wheelchair Project Repair shop in Northern Thailand ( I wish we still had some of them.) We do have some replacement tires but no way to install them on rims.



Footrests and leg-rests are also in short supply. Volunteer Larry Herring has been making modifications to make some work, which is again very time-consuming. Sometimes I have to say we will have to ship that chair with out them. Some users, such as amputees, don’t need foot rests, but ultimately that decision is up to the person seating the recipient.

I am so blessed to fellowship with these two teams of volunteers who come every Tuesday and Wednesday. These eleven guys come most every week, and many volunteer elsewhere during the week. Our Lord has called them to be a part of this ministry.

Because of all of us together, working with the Lord, many lives are changed. Our mobility recipients are able to go to school, work or just get outside in the fresh air. We don’t know how many have called out to Jesus in gratitude or given their lives to Him, but God knows. Their names are written in the Book!

1 Corinthians 3:6 speaks about some that plant and some that water, but God gives the increase. I believe all of us involved with Wheels are the ones who plant, and the ones who water are giving the equipment away in His Name and sharing the love of Christ. God gives the increase as those with disabilities, their families and caregivers discover His unconditional love.


The other end of the main room has our shipping and receiving areas. In the foreground is durable medical equipment we have just received, awaiting Patrick’s assessment for condition, and inventory.


Here is just one skid load of volunteer reconditioned chairs awaiting shipment in early 2017 to the Wheelchair Project in Thailand.