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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 if you are interested in helping to set up a time. Thanks!


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.


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.


An Invacare donated wheelchair is cause for rejoicing.


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.

americans under foot

“Americans Under Foot” illustration © Lynda Rimke

I was once locked inside a majority-world prison when a riot broke out. Fortunately, the prisoners were only running in every direction looking for tin plates, and snapped into a compressed line before us, a humanitarian aid group providing malnourished men with an afternoon meal.

Later, I watched with back to wall and crawling skin while a rubber-gloved doctor in our group rubbed medication on a prisoner’s head and yelled “Look at ’em jump!” merely referring to the hundreds of lice fleeing chemical extermination.

I can’t imagine what Saeed Abedini is going through right now. We know he is suffering internal bleeding from beatings he received from Iranian prison guards months ago, possible sepsis, weight loss from hunger and threat of death from inmates on the loose with knives. And lice.

His crime? Starting an orphanage with his father in Iran, a humanitarian-aid mission not unlike my own that day in jail. Meanwhile, the perpetrators who are treating him worse than a middle eastern dog get an $8 billion meal ticket.

While U.S. diplomacy handed out Iranian goodies from Santa’s bag, Saeed was transferred by the Iranian government from Evin Prison to an even more notorious prison that houses not merely political offenders, but rapists and murderers on death-row. It matters not that Saeed is a loving father and faithful husband, with his family bereft of Christmas in Idaho. Iran is treating him like vermin.

Moreover, Saeed is not alone. He is one of three U.S. citizens suffering in Iran. Saeed is only Iran’s most recent victim, arrested in July 2012. Amir Hekmati has been detained since August 2011, and Robert Levinson has not been heard from since he was apprehended in March of 2007.

In 2013 North Korea joined in axis-of-evil kidnapping, nabbing and consigning Korean-American tour-guide Kenneth Bae to a hard-labor camp and arresting and brainwashing 85 year old Army veteran Merrill Newman these last few weeks. Neither men have hope of release.

In 1961, during the Cold War, John F. Kennedy addressed the Canadian Parliament, saying “At the conference table and in the minds of men, the free world’s cause is strengthened because it is just. But it is strengthened even more by the dedicated efforts of free men and free nations. As the great parliamentarian Edmund Burke said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'”[1]

How will freedom’s just cause fare when five of our own citizens, good men all, continue to be ground to despair under the Obama diplomacy bus? Saeed Abedini has internal injuries from Iranian beatings [2] with no hope for the surgical intervention he desperately needs. The prison guards at Rajai Shahr have with-held the medication for internal bleeding that Saeed was given at Evin Prison.[3] The wheels of unilateral peace negotiations, apart from any meaningful bargaining for his release, are literally flattening him.

This is a terrible and atrocious irony: an ephemeral cerebral “peace” at the expense of fundamental human rights. I can only hope future negotiation efforts are of the level of dedication John F. Kennedy envisioned, where abject evil is plainly addressed and dealt with.

Increase sanctions with Iran and North Korea until our men return home. That is the least we can do.

Lynda Rimke
Board of Directors
Wheels of Hope

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From our Thailand Director, September 12 2012

We just came back from our first distribution outside Thailand as the RICD Wheelchair Project. We had a very nice distribution in Luang Prabang in Laos! In Laos there is also a very high need for mobility aid… So our team left Thailand on Wednesday the 5th and arrived in Luang Prabang on Thursday midnight.

Chai Mai to Luang Prabang

The Road from Chai Mai to Luang Prabang

The roads were very rough as we had to go through an area where there was actually no road… only dust, mud, stones and this for a distance of about 250 km! But our team had a safe trip. Last Sunday we had the distribution at the Hospital in Luang Prabang: 43 wheelchairs were distributed. The team came back to Thailand on Tuesday evening safely.

On Monday morning Dr. Samai and I left Luang Prabang for Bangkok. In the afternoon our project received a special award out of the hands of HRH Princess Soamsawali.  That was a very big honor as our wheelchair project was chosen together with two other projects out of 1,000 projects.

For the moment, the number of wheelchairs is going down very fast as fittings are done on daily base. Today the warehouse was actually closed as all volunteers are resting after the distribution in Laos but still two patients were fitted in a new wheelchair. We are also starting to plan for possible distributions in Chiang Dao, Rayong, Mae Hong Son and Pattani.

As you mentioned that it would be possible to have another container shipment. We are so happy to go for this. Whenever you are ready for this new shipment, please let us know and we can contact our sponsor in Bangkok to start with the necessary procedure. Again thanks so much for all the beautiful equipment we could already receive from you!
Many greetings and take care!


We are working with Luc to ship another 40′ container of hope in November: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” — Romans 5:5

Our friends Mike and Evey Williams are currently in Kenya, bringing Wheels of Hope equipment to those in need in remote places. Read Evey’s blog post at Thankyou Kenya

Below is Pastor Timothy balancing an Invacaare chair, reconditioned by volunteers at our Canton warehouse, on the trail to an elderly patient. Mike was on the trail behind Evey (who took the photo) with a bedside commode!


Here, the elderly woman is presented with her chair. In typical Kenyan generosity, she presented Evey with a live chicken as an expression of her gratitude!


Next, Pastor Timothy presents the very useful bedside commode, which will make it possible for her to use with assistance. The assistant could no longer help her use the typical squatting-style toilet.


And the best part is how Mike is training Pastor Timothy and others to repair the equipment they’ve distributed!


As promised I send to you in attachment some of the pictures taken during the arrival of the container yesterday. The equipment is really very very good ! We also would like to thank you also for all the spare parts… bearing, wheels, massive tires… It was really like Christmas when we opened all these boxes. Thanks you so much !

About the next container, I will contact tomorrow morning ICC in Bangkok and let you know asap.
Again so many thanks for again this beautiful equipment !
Many greetings and take care !

Luc and the RICD Wheelchair Project

The Wheels of Hope team poses with the Thai gov’t officials involved in the distribution program in Chaing Mai

Our Thai Director, Luc, opens another wheelchair box from Wheels of Hope

Everyone has a job to do! Next thing is to match the wheelchairs and walking aids with waiting recipients.

Troop leader Denise is an inspiration

Everyday is recycle day at the warehouse.

We had Boy Scout Troop #48 down on Saturday March 19th.
They really went to work at removing a mountain, a mountain of cardboard boxes from some of the equipment we receive from Invacare. If someone knows of a cardboard crusher machine we could have it could help Wheels of Hope in the support and recycling responsibilities.

They also started to dismantle the rollators that are damaged beyond repair in our recycling project. We will get them to the scrap yard and this will help our funding.

We are quite blessed to have so many volunteers! Thanks to all of you!

At this time our aluminum and steel scrap are two income sources for us. If we had a cardboard crusher we could gain income from the boxes. River Valley Paper Company will come and get the cardboard for us at no cost. If we were to bail it,  we could get $90 a bail. Giving them the boxes clears out of our space and keeps the landlord happy.

Invacare has provided hundreds of aluminum rollators. Some are repairable and others are for parts. We can combine parts from two, to make a complete usable one. We also receive heavy duty steel rollators that are not needed in the countries we ship to. Thailand and South America have smaller stature folks.

We repair the light weight rollators that can used and part out and scrap the damaged beyond repair ones. We are quite backed up with ones that need repair, our counterpart in Thailand says they have volunteers who can do this. So they will be getting quite a few to repair in the three upcoming shipments.

Two Scouts strip a broken rollator for parts

We can use the wheels, bearings, bolts and other parts on some of our chairs and send other wheels to Hope Haven International Ministries for the chairs they build.

Thanks, Scouts, for a job well done!

— Patrick Rimke

Just spent the last few hours talking with two past Board Members of Wheels of Hope. The first visit was about communication and getting the word out and getting people involved. The second was similar, getting the equipment out to those in need. God sure is good!

— Patrick

Hi Patrick and Lynda,

3/18/11 11:23 PM

Luc and I [Johannes] are really looking for funding opportunities for getting containers from Wheels of Hope this year. Luc was talking with a businessman who has helped us with transport in country and he consented to help with the containers. We have been so bold to ask for three containers and he agreed, so we praise the Lord.

Now we have not asked you if it would be possible for three containers to be sent from Wheels of Hope? We have been thinking of a time line of 1. Container be sent in April 2. Container in August and 3. Container in Oktober.

At the moment we do not have any standard wheelchairs left and a waiting list of 1600 applications! We would appreciate if we could discuss this time line with you as we will have to send in the request letter with the time line to our esteemed donor.

Luc Masschelein and Johannes Janzen
Wheels of Hope and Pioneers of Hope in Thailand