Archives For author

Its not as interesting in the shop without the volunteer camaraderie and it has very quiet in the workshop this year, waiting for the right time to re-establish weekly volunteer wheelchair refurbishing opportunities. That time is NOW. Contact me via email using patrick@wheelsofhope.org if you are interested in helping with cleaning, small repairs and lubrication of our backlog of wheelchairs for overseas shipment to those in need in Thailand and Honduras.

Here’s what I’ve been up to until volunteer training begins again:

2021 has been the perfect opportunity to focus my work on the backlog of tilt-in-space (TIS) wheelchairs in need of more intricate and creative repair. These are the chairs that need more than just cleaning, small repairs and lubrication which our regular volunteers addressed. There is a great need for pediatric-sized wheelchairs and the TIS perfectly fill that need. They are designed to accommodate a child’s growth, but they can be made smaller and not as deep seated for the youngest children in need. Most of the chairs we have are 18″ to 20″ wide. But we are able to down-size them to 12″ to be given to the smallest child.

A child’s special wheelchair after TLC

To narrow the width, the five adjustable spacer bars are removed, made shorter and reinstalled. The seating area is made shallower by just moving the back supports forward. Then I modify the rigid seats and backs that are not custom molded and can be made smaller by cutting the plywood base and re-stapling the covering over the edges again.

Getting foot or leg rests (rigging) to use can be interesting. Some of the chairs never had them so creative things need to be done. Making rigging from different types of attachments and manufactures is challenging. Its nice when I just walk around the warehouse and find what will work just sitting on top of one of the other chairs or in some other odd place!

A children’s specialty wheelchair with newly adapted footrests

Last but not least are the wheels, tires and bearings. The tires are not very worn but do suffer from age. Cracks in the rubber treads and sidewalls will only last for so long. If they are really bad, I’ll try and replace them. It seems the wheel bearings pick up rug fibers and hair that gets inside the “sealed” bearing. These get soaked in cleaner and freed up and greased and re-installed. If they can’t be reworked, then they are replaced with good used ones.

Once the chair is reassembled and checked that it reclines and operates correctly, it is made as compact as possible for shipping and stretch wrapped. Lifting the chair on to and off the bench is difficult. These chairs can weigh as much as seventy pounds completed. So I have made a way to get them on and off with out injuring my back.

The back-saving lift I use to move the 70+ pound pediatric wheelchair
Stretch-wrapped children’s specialty wheelchairs staged for shipping

This is how I have been using my talent and this season of working solo, on loan from God. I am grateful for His giving me the abilities to work with Him to provide mobility to the least of the least.

There is a good inventory of regular wheelchairs just waiting to be reconditioned, but we need new young and healthy volunteers for that. (Our former group of retirees had served for over a decade and are well into their 80s, many with health issues of their own which the pandemic has only intensified.) Many of these chairs were used commercially and damaged. They need dismantled for usable parts and the rest of the chair prepared to be recycled for the steel. This would make a great home school or youth group project.

We continue our prayers for getting this vital ministry opportunity into the hearts and hands of younger people, new volunteers, new board members and leadership.

We are starting again in earnest to recondition equipment and share our need of volunteers, and ways younger folks can help make a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities world wide:

If you lead a youth group, and can come on a Saturday morning, we have acres of walkers that need checked for functionality: with the good ones getting any missing rubber feet and shrink wrapped for shipping and the broken ones set aside to strip for scrap metal. We also have lots of crutches that need paired, and tipped with missing rubber feet and wrapped as well.

Wheels of Hope donated crutches and walkers in need of sorting and reconditioning for shipment to those in need in Thailand or Honduras

If you like to pull things apart: we have some wooden racks that we wish to disassemble, to make room for another staging area that is closer to the shop.

If you want to learn how to recondition wheelchairs in the heated shop, we need a new team of a few younger volunteers to come in one day a week and start the restoration train going again. 

Wheels of Hope donated wheelchairs in need of reconditioning in 2021 and beyond


All has remained quiet at the warehouse over the last 18 months, as one Covid wave after another makes us reconsider recruiting a new team of retirees to volunteer. We were hopeful after so many we knew were vaccinated, but then break-through Covid redefined the whole concept of break-through … In September we lost a dear friend and long-time Wheels of Hope financial supporter to break-through Covid. And the new wrinkle of infections and spread among the fully vaccinated does influence what older retirees can safely do. We will not recruit the vulnerable … 

The photo below is telling: the date on the tag is when our team of faithful octogenarians last volunteered. After many had served since their early 70s … it all came to a screeching halt in March 2020. Who knew these dedicated volunteers, many in fragile states of health, would never be able to safely return?

The reconditioning date of this donated chair from the Akron Canton airport reads 2-20-20 … just about the last week our volunteers worked as a team.


The good news is we’re all tired of the isolation, and the warehouse is BIG … we have so much floor space one can almost get lost in the maze … so it truly is one of the safer places to visit and fellowship for younger, more healthy people.

Meanwhile, there have been plenty of specialty chairs to keep Patrick busy, although working alone. These complicated seating systems require more expertise, and Patrick never got time to fix them when he was managing volunteers, looking to supply our team with the basic chairs and parts and assisting them as needed.

So these 18 months have not been wasted.

We want to continue to be good stewards of every donated piece of equipment we receive, and can’t keep them waiting …

Please spread the word: Uncle Patrick needs your (?) TLC!

Our warehouse location is in Canton, Ohio on the second floor above The Stock Pile, 1387 Clarendon Ave SW, Canton, Ohio 44710.

E-mail patrick@wheelsofhope.org if you are interested in helping to set up a time. Thanks!

Wheels of Hope shipped a forty foot sea container to Thailand in July with over a 127 wheelchairs, 185 folding walkers, 35 rollators, 118 pair of crutches, 118 canes, 74 bedside commodes and many other durable medical
equipment (DME) related items. But this almost didn’t happen in time!

As the shipping date kept getting closer, we got a big donation from the maintenance man at Grace Baptist Church of Brunswick, Pat Wilkinson. He called asking if we needed wheelchairs. He has a contact with a drugstore chain that needed to dispose of 30 or so wheelchairs and other DME. I asked when do they need picked up? I would need to rent a truck to get that many. He responded that he would bring them to the warehouse! Yes, yes Lord!

The chairs were like new and had minor issues. Our Tuesday Volunteers were able to get them done very quickly! Thanks again Lord!!! And just a month be- fore the date Pat Wilkinson called again with a few more new chairs.

Help Came …

Helpers to the rescue: volunteers from load a sea container bound for The Wheelchair Project, our partner organization in Thailand
Helpers to the rescue: volunteers from area churches and youth groups load a sea container bound for The Wheelchair Project, our partner organization in Thailand

And at the very last minute, God also supplied a great team of young folks to load the container that warm Saturday July morning! We had volunteers from Maranatha Bible Church and Hope United Methodist Church in Akron, Mission View Church in North Canton, and other friends lend a hand. In the weeks leading up to loading day, I was being distracted in thoughts of having to load this container with just my wife and I … thank you Lord for all the hands that made my worrisome thoughts vanish! He knew our needs!

Help came for Wheels of Hope! Hats off to Rick Thompson, of Thompson Target, for all his connections, and providing lunch for the crew!

… and Help Was Given to the Helpless

Meanwhile, in Thailand, Joey and Jasmine Tell and The Wheelchair Project team continue to distribute our equipment to the neediest. We are fairly certain that one of the bariatric wheelchairs Patrick shipped was recently given away to a father with … twins!

Jasmine shared on October 24 “I love how God provided for the unexpected in Ratchaburi this week! … two sons in need of a wheelchair, but only one caregiver to push them. This father came to us and requested a single wheelchair big enough for both of his sons. They were a walk in, no ap- plication prior, and we hadn’t come prepared for their request, we thought. But then we found a wheelchair wide enough to fit both brothers together, and the joy they felt was so visible to all around. It may be unconventional, but it is what this family needed and we were thankful to provide help to this amazing father and his beloved sons.” Jasmine adds that “in Ratchaburi [we are] supported by the local church” who follows up with the patients to build a long term relationship of care and the love of Christ.

Twins receive a transport chair wide enough to share at The Wheelchair Project in northern Thailand.
Twins receive a transport chair wide enough to share at The Wheelchair Project in northern Thailand.

Thank you Tells and The Wheelchair Project, for building on the strategy first envisioned with Joey’s dad, Doug Tell, and the RICD Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in 2000.

Wheels of Hope is dedicated to keeping wheelchairs, medical supplies and other DME out of landfills. Every item we receive is either refurbished, dismantled and sorted for recyclable parts, or we find other ministries that can use medical supplies. Lastly, if no use can be found or made, donations are cleaned and recycled.

This year, we received a surprise financial gift from the Kimble Foundation. Our Board of Directors elected to allocate the funds for a long-overdue clean-out of our warehouse of long-accumulated damaged donations that we cannot recondition to distribute overseas (No Junk for Jesus!) We allocated funds to set up a second day for Director of Operations, Patrick Rimke, to assess, sort, clean and move out these materials to recycling facilities. We also allocated funds to buy any needed parts to make some of the broken things whole again to ship overseas to help those who need it most.

The result? We have thus far recycled gel cell batteries from power wheelchairs, aluminum from damaged walkers, bent or broken wheelchair parts and other miscellaneous goods. These different metals were cleaned, sorted and delivered to Jeffco which recycles scrap metal for re-use. We received an additional small fee of $438, not enough to offset our costs, so the grant from Kimble made this service feasible.

Seven pallets of flattened cardboard boxes were also delivered to River Valley Paper. We have more to recycle and look forward to volunteer crews to help on Saturday Warehouse Whip-it events Nov. 30th and Dec. 7th.

We partnered with Jay’s Recycling to scrap and recycle our broken and damaged steel. Presently, we are accumulating more steel and mixed metals to make it worth another trip. It is best to have 3-4 tons at a time, and the price per ton has been low over the years. Jay works hard!

We have plastic parts from damaged bathroom aids to recycle. We will take our broken plastics to the Kimble recycle plant near our facility, once we have enough.

We receive medical supplies that our partnering in-country organizations (The RICD Wheelchair Project in Thailand and Christo Ayuda in Chile) can’t use, like aerosol machines, ventilators, oxygen equipment, adult diapers, bandages and other home medical devices. We re-donate these to Central American Medical Outreach, Vine International and other local ministries that distribute these items to Honduras and Guatemala.

Many heartfelt thanks to the Kimble Foundation for assisting us with our recycling efforts for those broken pieces and parts that remain unfit for distribution to persons with disabilities, and for giving that forgotten wheelchair that only needs a wheel-lock a chance to bless someone in need!

Pat and Mary Simons with the 1962 Willys Jeep they use to promote Wheels of Hope
Pat and Mary Simons with the 1962 Willys Jeep they use to promote Wheels of Hope

—by David Sullens, reprinted from The Courier Express of western Pennsylvania, May 2018

Pat Simons uses his 1962 Willys wagon to open doors for a cause about which he is passionate — Wheels of Hope. Wheels of Hope is an organization that collects mobility aids — wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers, prosthetics — and reconditions them before sending them overseas to people in less developed or less fortunate countries who need them.

Simons’ interest in the organization began with his daughter, Sarah, who, as he was taking her to school one day when she was 8 years old, heard about it on the radio.

The commentator made reference to people in another country “walking around on stumps” and about an organization that was attempting to help them.

After listening intently, Sarah asked Pat, “Can we get involved?”

Pat told her he would check on it. A month later, she asked again. And they did get involved.

But the operator of that organization moved it from Canton, Ohio to Colorado. It was not feasible to ship the donated equipment from the east side of the country to Colorado, so the Canton warehouse soon was home to a new organization — Wheels of Hope — with the same mission.

Refurbished equipment has been sent to Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and its current focus is Thailand. At one point, Pat and Sarah went on a Wheels of Hope mission trip to Honduras.

Pat’s interest in his Willys stems from his having owned one when he was in his 20s. He recalls that it was his “daily driver” and he very much enjoyed it but, over time, it deteriorated. He bought another one — with no engine — and intended to “make one from two” but then came marriage. With no time, he eventually sold both 30 years ago “to a guy who is just finishing the project now.”

A few years ago, Simons started looking online for another Willys wagon. He found several, but most were too expensive. Finally he spotted one on Long Island that was priced at $13,500. In six months that price had fallen to $10,000, so he took his money and went to look at it. He bought it, he says, for $9,250.

“The outside was like it is now,” he said. “I’ve done nothing inside it yet and the engine still needs work.”

He has driven the wagon in parades and last year started taking it to car shows, “mostly for exposure” for Wheels of Hope.

The fact that the Willys he owns today is a 1962, which was what he owned more than 30 years ago, he says is either coincidence “or a God thing.”

The Willys is “mechanically sound” but needs a valve job, he said. “If the engine was running properly it would do 70,” he said, “but now only about 50-60.

It is powered by a “Super Hurricane” flathead six cylinder engine. Power is transferred to either the rear or all four wheels through a 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive and a two-speed transfer case.

Simons, who is a factory representative for Mac Metal Sales, said he has replaced the wagon’s heater, “so now it does heat.”

He put new, larger all-weather radial tires on it and has replaced “lots of seals.” He still needs to replace the door seals and re-do the wagon’s body mounts, he said. He also has given it a new single barrel carburetor.

It had already been repainted when he bought it. He does not typically drive it in the winter months, but has on occasion. “I use it every chance I get,” he said.

Hope in Motion Editor’s Addendum:
In addition to their showing Pat’s Willys to promote Wheels of Hope, Pat and Mary collect used wheelchairs and walking and bath aids and deliver them to our Canton warehouse about twice a year. Pat has not only received donated equipment, but donated storage space from DuBois Harley Davidson and the use of vehicles from Plylers Environmental Solutions to transport the equipment to us. They also serve on the Board of Directors, and we are thankful for all they do!

When God gives you a pat on the back, it can feel like a thunderclap.”We will be forever indebted …”

Today is the very first time I have seen this 2016 annual report from our Thai distribution partners, and I am completely undone: a Statement of Appreciation …

171130ricdwp-ty2016

The RICD Wheelchair Project 2016 Annual Report, page 6  – right click to enlarge

to Wheels of Hope … when there are so many more organizations donating medical equipment to this incredibly worthy project from all over the world …

… when all I have felt over the last two years is that we’ve become a dying vine due to diminished resources.

Federal regulations have redirected all Durable Medical Equipment from U. S. manufacturers to EPA-certified scrap yards since 2012. The following year, 2013, was our “year of Jubilee” as we rested from 16 years of receiving more equipment than we could refurbish and ship. It took us FIVE “Jubilee” years to empty our football-field sized warehouse space of all the equipment! Now it is almost empty. The inflow remains just a trickle of what it was in former days.

Add to this picture a new 5000-wheelchair distribution goal for 2018 from a Thai financial donor to our Thai partner, the RICD Wheelchair Project: an appeal to increase distribution to Thai persons with disabilities— not twice as much, but five-fold! Which means a corresponding five-fold increase from equipment donors like Wheels of Hope— This is nothing less than a call to faith.

Who “owns the cattle on a thousand hills”? The God we serve, the Bible says. To the ancient man this was riches beyond imagination, the equivalent of the physical and financial resources of a thousand Earths.

Wheels of Hope is not done yet! This year-old tribute describes how we have been blessed, and gives me hope. We have shipped 23 sea containers, each with an average of $200,000 in wheelchairs, walking aids and bed and bath aids, since helping found the RICD Wheelchair Project in 2000. Well over 3000 of lives have been changed. Can we trust Him to equip us to send even more?

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

—by Patrick Rimke

img_3873

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.

img_3881

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.

img_3875

img_3876

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.

img_3885

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.

img_3882

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

zippie

One of our two chairs may have been this pediatric tilt-in-space donated from The Hattie Larlham Foundation

Dear Wheels of Hope family,

We have great news to share with you from The Wheelchair Project. We have just finished our first major Wheelchair Distribution in Yangon, Myanmar (formally Rangoon, Burma) with 41 Wheelchairs distributed, which Wheels of Hope helped make possible through their many donations. (Wheels of Hope chairs are in such high demand that they get snatched up really quick and it was the point in the year that we were just about to receive your container rather than just after. Because of this it looks like there were only two Wheels of Hope wheelchairs that we had available to take.) These distributions took place  in Mae Sai and Yangon from January 27-30, 2016.

We ran into some difficulty in planning as the event dates were changed again and again until finally we were confronted with two overlapping distribution commitments: the Yangon distribution and one involving another 25 wheelchair recipients in Mae Sai, a town up at the northern Thailand border.This meant that we had to split our team …

God provided additional technical support in Mae Sai from the Rotary Club in Utteradit  even though we did not have funds in the budget for them. They graciously shouldered all their expenses on their own. This greatly aided those of our team that remained in Mae Sai.

Despite the extremely cold temperatures for SE Asia, the distribution went very smoothly and was perceived and received as a great success. We have again seen how God has prepared the way to meet both physical and spiritual needs, and look forward to eternity where we will be able to see how God has used our feeble efforts.

The same thing goes for our distribution in Yangon, Myanmar. After a lengthy process involving a lot of phone calls to officials on both sides of the border, they were able to clear all the hurdles: moving the wheelchairs through customs and 350 miles by truck, a two day journey due to the present condition of the roads. The team was also granted complimentary visas, made possible through the cooperation of the highest levels at the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon and the newly-opened Myanmar General Consulate in Chiang Mai. Thai officials from the Department of Mental health, Ministry of Public Health and the Royal Thai Embassy to Myanmar also came to diplomatically oversee the distribution.  It is amazing to see how much Myanmar has changed even just in the past 3 years, and we are awestruck at the openness with which we were received.

joey-sign

Marveling at the many players that came together to make these distributions possible.

Myanmar locals also joined the team to minister to recipients. We were also able to distribute Burmese Bibles, delivered by a Myanmar volunteer who traveled almost three hours to Yangon. We were also able to translate a leaflet of Joni Earekson Tada’s story into Burmese. Her story has always been an encouragement to our patients here in Thailand.

invacare

An Invacare donated wheelchair is cause for rejoicing.

invacare-bliss

Her smile says it all!

After the distribution, others from the National Rehabilitation Hospital came to us requesting Bibles or any printed information we had. What a privilege and blessing that we had the liberty to openly serve in this capacity as well!

Every evening, during our hosts’ wonderfully prepared meals, we were able to talk to many dignitaries from both the Thai and Burmese sides with the consensus that we were invited to do further distributions in the near future. In summary, we can say that this distribution was historic and groundbreaking.

A new program to train the Myanmarese technicians involved in the distributions is in the planning stage. Please pray for divine preparation and timing for this program and future distributions, and join with us in rejoicing for all the good and glorious things our God has done for us.

Greetings and Blessings,
The RICD Wheelchair Project Team

Volunteers go the extra mile

Left to right: Tim Abramides, John-the-driver, Jon Walters, Jim Trautman and John Reed.

We are posting to broadcast our heartfelt thanks to the efforts of our Wednesday volunteers who stayed on an extra three hours (after their normal 9-3 day) to load a 40’ container to Guatemala. We also appreciate that the driver lent a hand. Often, a scheduled container loading does not go according to schedule. We are very blessed when those who volunteer to load stay on and go the extra mile!

This container is destined for the Vine International Bodega in Guatemala city (managed by Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon) and Hospital Shalom in the Petán region (a project headed by Tim Spurrier). Thanks also to Vine International financial donor Carol Cruze, who covered the cost of shipping life-changing humanitarian equipment to those in need.

We also want to give a huge shout out for the large donations of wheelchairs, walking aids and other medical equipment that came just in the nick of time for our volunteers to recondition for this shipment. Many thanks to equipment donors MedWish and Little Sisters of the Poor, both in Cleveland.

Persons with disabilities in Guatemala will be transformed by mobility and a tangible demonstration of the love of Jesus for all mankind.

As we wind down our second year of work on the many years’ worth of donations in need of major rebuilding and repair work, we want to give a huge shout-out to our faithful volunteers who spend one day of every week working miracles, all year long.

The Tuesday crew has two Jims, George, Rick, Larry, Frank and Loren. The Wednesday team is two Johns and a Jon, a Jim, and Dan. These are the guys that keep Wheels rolling. Patrick stresses that his work in the warehouse is only a small part of the Wheels of Hope mission.

A typical Tuesday or Wednesday begins at 9am with fellowship and devotions. Work begins at 10 with Patrick providing chairs and needed parts and fielding questions about how to fix or modify them to make them usable, sometimes interchanging parts from one brand chair to another. Volunteers put in about 5 hours of TLC each, finishing up around 3pm.

An average wheelchair now takes two days to disassemble, repair and re- build, so the Tuesday guys often leave wheelchairs for the Wednesday guys to finish up and visa versa.

Patrick works to keep a collection of parts to choose from: side frame pieces, caster housings, etc. An example is a valuable tilt-in-space chair that needs a way to mount the rear wheels. We also have a number of extra-wide chairs that we modify by narrowing the seating to t a slender person who does not have access to the typical American diet!

Patrick relates that the volunteers are, in some cases “miracle workers. They take things in really rough condition: dirty, dusty and sometimes rusty. (Some of these chairs have been lurking in dark warehouse corners since 1998.) With TLC, these miracle workers first dismantle the chair of wheels, casters, armrests, etc. then clean the chair and detachable parts so they look good, and can be closely examined for problems like a bent castor fork or wobbly wheel. They lubricate the bearings so they function properly, and best of all, put all the parts back together to create a blessing.”

jim-george

Another team of miracle workers, Frank and Rick, have spent the last year repairing a mountain of rollators that Patrick had sorted for scrap metal. Rick spends his day at the pile, dismantling the rollators and determining whether the parts are usable. Then sorts them into piles. Frank takes the parts from those piles and rebuilds rollators to make them work. Sometimes he even is able to bolt broken frames together. The result, a functional piece of equipment that enables a frail person to keep moving.

Loren and Larry are the boxing and shipping team. Larry also searches out the right leg-rests to go with the wheelchairs being boxed. Patrick then, stages the boxed chairs and makes inventories for each shipment.

loren-larry

Volunteers are at the heart of making Wheels work. Without their consistent and faithful labors, Wheels would remain a warehouse full of broken and rusted pieces like Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones. Volunteers are the breath of God that puts those bones together to make a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities all over the world!

Total volunteer hours for the year: almost 3000! — with one 45’ container sent to Thailand and equipment for one 40’ container staged for Guatemala.

We look forward to what the God has in store for next year. We will continue to work on the more needy donations from past years, as well as new donations. Hopefully, rules will change to make it easier for manufacturers to make donations again. For a deeper look at the regulations affecting donations to all medical missions, go to http://fda.gov/downloads/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM127067.pdf

bones