Category Archives: Veterans

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson's Awareness

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.

As many as one million individuals in the US live with Parkinson’s disease. While approximately four percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age.

Its major symptoms vary from person to person, but can include tremor, slowness of movements, limb stiffness, and difficulties with gait and balance. The cause of the disease is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms.

If you have questions about wheelchair accessible vehicles and are in the New England area give us a call @ 508-697-6006

 

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run: Updated

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run updated

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

Thanks to some last minute donations The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the 5th honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Marine Sgt Kirstie Ennis!
Kirstie lost her leg due to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
This upcoming May, we ride for her!

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

 

Massachusetts Gold Star Families Tree Dedication

Please join Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary Francisco Urena, Massachusetts Gold Star Families, Veterans Advocates and our State Legislators for the 4th Annual Massachusetts Gold Star Families Tree Dedication. The Tree will pay tribute to local Service Members who have given their lives in service to our Nation and to the families who continue to carry their legacy forward. Photos and messages from loved ones will be displayed on the tree and serve to remind us of the tremendous sacrifices made for our Freedoms.

Prior to the dedication (beginning at 12:30pm) Gold Star Families will have an opportunity to personalized ornaments that will be placed on the tree.

This project is a partnership between the Military Friends Foundation, the Gold Star Wives and Gold Star Mothers organizations. This event is open to the public. Please join us for a light lunch following the dedication.

For more information and family registration, please visit www.militaryfriends.org/goldstartree

Wreaths Across America

The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday, December 12, 2015. The Opening Ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. at McClellan Gate, which is at the intersection of McClellan and Eisenhower Drives – near the main entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. At the ceremony, volunteers will receive a short briefing then move to the designated areas of the cemetery to participate in the laying of wreaths at headstones.

Participants are encouraged to use the Metro. No vehicle access will be allowed in the cemetery until 3 p.m. Families with permanent parking passes can park in the Welcome Center Garage free-of-charge until 3 p.m. The Administration Parking Lot is designated parking for those with disabilities. No general parking is permitted in the Welcome Center Garage.

For more information, go to http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

6th Annual Mass Fallen Heroes Memorial Dinner

6th Annual Mass Fallen Heroes Memorial Dinner

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Boston's 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Mobility Rebate Programs

Whether you’re looking for a wheelchair accessible minivan, a full-size van, or a lift/ramp for your wheelchair van, your financial investment is always going to be a major consideration. We understand the importance of the investment our customers make and we always strive to produce superior products and provide excellent service.

In today’s difficult economy, every cent counts when you’re making decisions about what you can and can’t afford to go without. Feeling that your mobility is restricted by financial constraints is discouraging, and we don’t like the idea of anyone having to face that challenge and find no answers or possibilities. That’s why we are extremely well informed and able to assist you in navigating your way through the myriad of grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs.

Every auto manufacturer offers a mobility rebate program of some type and they are definitely worth looking into. Here is some information about rebates for wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts/ramps. For more personalized information, contact us and we will help guide you through the process of applying and receiving these rebates.

Toyota Mobility Dealer
The Toyota Mobility Program provides up to $1,000 in reimbursement for adaptive equipment (such as wheelchair lifts, assistive seating, driving aids, and more) installed on new Toyota vehicles within 12 months of the delivery date of the vehicle.

Dodge/Chrysler Automobility Dealer
Chrysler’s AutoMobility Program is similar to the program mentioned above, with reimbursements from $400-$1,000 available depending on the type of adaptive equipment installed..

Honda Mobility Dealer
The Honda Mobility Assistance Program offers reimbursement up to $1,000 for adaptive equipment installed on a new Honda!

Lexus Mobility
The Lexus Mobility Program supports the mobility needs of Lexus owners and/or family members with physical disabilities.

 If you have any questions about these programs, just give our us a call or visit us today. We’re always happy to help!

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans

WaterFire Salute To Veterans 2015

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans is scheduled to take place on November 7th, 2015. This is the third year for this community wide celebration of Veterans. This WaterFire will be a full WaterFire event lighting and solely devoted to saluting and honoring our Veterans and all military personnel of the United States and their families.

Much more than the bonfires, WaterFire presents a wide variety of experiences – traditional to avant-garde and experimental, bringing new audiences to art while filling the city with energy, vibrancy and a new vision for urban life. Programming around this installation varies greatly and WaterFire prides itself on being able to celebrate, champion and highlight various other forms of art, causes, other local organizations and local history. This year WaterFire is proud to honor all of our Veterans with an entire evening dedicated to their service, sacrifice and dedication.

This WaterFire event lighting will include many different activities and initiatives that highlight and celebrate, in both creative and literal representations, all Rhode Island Veterans as well as current members of the armed forces from all branches. The goal is to use the WaterFire platform as a means to educate and bring awareness to the community at large about our Veterans and Veterans Services, as well as serve as a celebration and thank you for the sacrifices that these men and women have made for our country and our community.

Throughout the WaterFire installation there will be many ceremonies and tributes planned over the course of the evening as well as many areas for displays and engagement from Waterplace Basin to Steeple Street to Memorial Park. WaterFire is excited to produce a Veteran’s Resource Fair at the heart of the installation.

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets will be placing 64,000 flags on the graves of our beloved veterans for veterans Day, Flagging will commence following a brief ceremony at 10 AM on Saturday November 7. Please bring a long shank screwdriver to make starter holes for the flags.

Removal will take place on Sunday November 15 at 10 AM.

National Day of the Deployed

October 26 is designated as National Day of the Deployed.

National Day of the Deployed honors all of the brave men and woman who have been deployed and are sacrificing, or have sacrificed, their lives to fight for our country and acknowledges their families that they are separated from.

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the third honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Army Specialist Sean Pesce of West Haven, CT!
Sean was shot 13 times Afghanistan and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
This upcoming May, we ride for him!

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

North Carolina Wounded Vet Run 2015

NC Wounded Vet Run 2015

Check out the Facebook Page

First Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the first honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Peter Damon of Middleborough, MA!
Peter lost both his arms in Iraq.
In 2016 we ride for him!

Peter Damon

The American Infidels Veteran Motorcycle Club

The American Infidels Veteran Motorcycle Club is a Federally recognized 501c19 War Veterans Organization.

Along with countless volunteers and patriots, we are erecting the first in the State of Massachusetts, 9/11 Mass Fallen Heroes South Shore Memorial located at 777 Plymouth Street Holbrook, Mass.

The Memorial will include a section of steel beam from the World Trade Center and lighted glass panel etched with the Names of the Massachusetts victims of 9/11, those that sacrificed during the massive rescue efforts at ground Zero, Names of warriors that made the ultimate sacrifice fighting in the global war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and those that died from the invisible wounds of war.

To help fund the Memorial, we are providing the opportunity to purchase engraved memorial bricks. These bricks will be permanently installed at and around, the base of the Memorial. Future plans exist for the expansion of the memorial.

For more information please visit their website!

Tomorrow is National POW/MIA Recognition Day

2015 NATIONAL POW:MIA RECOGNITION DAY September 18th

National POW/MIA Recognition Day will be observed on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. This annual event honors our missing service members and their families, and highlights the government’s commitment to account for them.  Across the country, local POW/MIA ceremonies are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day.  Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt.  America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on continuing commitment to account as fully as possible for those still missing.  Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers.

Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the most prestigious award and highest honor that the United States military has to offer. Despite its prestige, however, there’s much that people don’t know about this coveted decoration:

  • There are three different versions of the Medal of Honor: one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force.
    A separate Coast Guard version has also been authorized, but it has yet to actually be awarded to anyone. In the meantime, personnel from the Coast Guard and Marine Corps receive the Navy version of the prestigious decoration.
  • There is only one woman, who has ever been awarded the Medal of Honor: Mary Edwards Walker.
    Walker served as a Union Army surgeon, during the Civil War. She received the Medal of Honor in 1865 for her exemplary service in field hospitals, during the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861) and a series of other battles over the next three years.
  • There is also only one U.S. President, who has ever been awarded the Medal of Honor: Teddy Roosevelt, for his service as a Rough Rider.
    When the Spanish-American War broke out, Roosevelt quit his job as Secretary of the Navy to lead a volunteer regiment, know as the Rough Riders. He then played a pivotal role in the Battles of San Juan Hill and a series of other confrontations in Cuba. Accordingly, President Clinton posthumously honored him with the award in 2001.
  • 3,492 different people have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
    Astoundingly, 19 men have been awarded the honor twice. Fourteen of these double recipients received two separate Medals of Honor for two separate acts of valor. The remaining five double winners received both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor for the same act.
  • The youngest ever recipient of the Medal of Honor earned the award at age 11 and received it at age 13. His name was Willie Johnston.
    Johnston enlisted in the Union Army alongside his father, in June 1861, as a drummer boy. A year later, their unit, the 3rd Vermont Infantry, was overpowered by Confederate Forces and forced to retreat down the Virginia Peninsula. During this famous “Seven Days Retreat,” the soldiers and other drummers in Willie’s unit shed their weapons and instruments, in an effort to flee faster. Willie, however, held onto his drum and was later asked to play for the entire division on July 4th… an exemplary act, which led President Lincoln to recommend him for the Medal of Honor.
  • Jacklyn “Jack” Lucas, is the youngest Marine to have ever received the Medal of Honor.
    He is also the youngest person to have received the honor in the 20th Century. Lucas lied his way into the armed forces, during World War II, at the age of just 14. Then, at 17, he shielded several of his fellow soldiers from enemy grenades, during Iwo Jima; absorbing the full blast with his own body.
  • It is illegal to wear someone else’s Medal of Honor.
    Interestingly, though, it is no longer illegal to pretend you have one. In 2006, President George W. Bush attempted to make it illegal by signing the Stolen Valor Act into law. This act imposed a prison sentence of up to one year on anyone, falsely claiming to have received a Medal of Honor. However, the Supreme Court later struck this act down in 2012, ruling that it violated the First Amendment right to free speech.
  • There are two father-son pairs that have won the Medal of Honor.
    Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and his son, General Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to both be awarded Medals of Honor. The only other such pairing was President Teddy Roosevelt and his son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who led the first wave of troops onto Utah Beach during the Normandy Landings of World War II.
  • There are also five pairs of brothers that have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
    The first of these pairs was John and William Black, who both won the decoration for their exemplary service in the American Civil War. Brothers Charles and Henry Capehart also received the award for courageous actions during the American Civil War. Brothers Harry and Willard Miller received the honor for the same naval action, during the Spanish-American War. Brothers Allen and James Thompson received the award for the same action, during the American Civil War. Lastly, brothers Antoine and Julien Gaujot have the unique distinction of receiving their medals for actions in separate conflicts; Antoine for the Philippine-American War, Julien for crossing the border to rescue both Mexicans and Americans, during the Mexican Revolution.
  • In 1993, the U.S. Army commissioned a study to investigate possible racial discrimination in the awarding of the Medal of Honor.
    After an exhaustive review of military files, a group of Distinguished Service Cross recipients were upgraded to the higher honor.
  • In 1998, a similar study was commissioned to investigate possible discrimination against Asian Americans in the awarding of military decorations.
    It resulted in President Clinton awarding 22 Asian-American World War II heroes the country’s highest medal for valor in 2000. Twenty of these medals went to American soldiers of Japanese descent, who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the European Theater. One went to Senator Daniel Inouye, a former U.S. Army Infantry officer in the 442nd RCT.
  • More than half of all Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously; a testament to the danger of the courageous sort of “beyond the call of duty” acts, which merit the honor in the first place.
  • When you get a Medal of Honor, you earn a lifetime of special benefits and privileges.
    For example, your kids are eligible for admission to United States military academies, without having to secure nominations or meet quota requirements. Also, if you were not previously eligible for burial in Arlington Cemetery, you are now.
  • Medal of Honor recipients also receive invitations to all future presidential inaugurations and inaugural balls.
  • As of 2002, in addition to the actual medal, all Medal of Honor recipients also get a special Medal of Honor Flag.

The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Centers

The Nathan Hale  Foundation was incorporated on April 4, 2006.  The Foundation and  Veterans Outreach Centers were  founded solely by Christopher C. Hart President/Founder and Executive Director of both the Plymouth and Middleboro Massachusetts offices. The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Center is non-profit, tax-exempt, 501 c(3) organization.

Main Office – Plymouth
All transportation appointments and information
763 State Road, Plymouth MA 02360
508-224-0100

Middleboro Office
260 Centre Street, Middleboro MA 02364
781-923-0900

They believe it is their civic duty to help the troops and their families who face personal hardships while serving our country.

The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Center provides these programs FREE of charge to Veterans and their families:

ALL SERVICES ARE FREE!

  • Transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Hale to the Arts ~ Painting Classes
  • Veterans Appreciation Dinners
  • Day Outings
  • Chair Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Food Pantry
  • Cycling Program
  • Clothing Outlet
  • Combat Stress/ Counseling

For more information please visit their website: TheNathanHaleVeteransOutreachCenter.com

 

Massachusetts Run For The Fallen Is On Saturday!

 Massachusetts Run For The Fallen

They are a group of runners, walkers, and support crew with a mission.

To run in honor of every Massachusetts Service Member Fallen since September 11, 2001. They run to raise awareness for the lives of those who died, to rejuvenate their memories and keep their spirits alive. MARFTF seeks to honor those who have fallen under the American Flag. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Military Friends Foundation at 1-84-HELP-VETS or MARFTF@militaryfriends.org

Rain or Shine
Saturday, September 12, 2015
84 Eastern Avenue
Dedham, MA 02026

Not a runner? Come out and cheer on the runners and show your support for the families!

8:00 am – Registration Opens
9:00 am – Name Reading
10:00 am – Timed Run Start
10:10 am – Memorial Run Start
11:00 pm – Post Run Event

  • $30 donation (supports the cost of the event and families of the Fallen) receives a bib, limited edition MARFTF t-shirt, finishers medal and food ticket.
  • Live Music
  • Boston Marathon Tough Ruck
  • Lynn English JROTC Drill Team
  • Post-run: Family Fun including face painting, Ice Cream, raffles and more!
  • RFTF active wear for purchase to benefit Families of the Fallen

Marine Corps Reserve

Marine Corps Reserve

The Reserve of the United States Marine Corps, since its establishment by law in 1916, has been responsible for providing trained units and qualified individuals to be mobilized for active duty in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations.

Over the past eight decades, Reserve Marines have regularly operated alongside the active component in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm and Enduring Freedom.

Tomorrow is the New York Wounded Vet Run

New York Wounded Vet Run

Tomorrow Is The Greater Boston Stand Down Event!

Greater Boston Stand Down Event

National Spirit of ’45 Day

Spirit Of '45

In 2010, Congress unanimously voted in favor of a national “Spirit of ’45 Day” to preserve and honor the legacy of the men and women of the World War II generation so that their example of national unity, shared sacrifice, can do attitude, and service to their community and country continues to inspire future generations of Americans.

Coast Guard Day

Flag of the United States Coast Guard

August 4 is celebrated as Coast Guard Day to honor the establishment on that day in 1790 of the Revenue Cutter Service, forebear of today’s Coast Guard, by the Treasury Department. On that date, Congress, guided by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of ten cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by Congress under the Constitution.

The Coast Guard has been continuously at sea since its inception, although the name Coast Guard didn’t come about until 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the Lifesaving Service. The Lighthouse Service joined the Coast Guard in 1939, followed in 1946 by the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection. Finally, in 1967, after 177 years in the Treasury Department, the Coast Guard was transferred to the newly formed Department of Transportation.

Coast Guard Day is primarily an internal activity for active duty Coast Guard personnel, civilian members, reservists, retirees, auxiliarists, and dependents, but it does have a significant share of interest outside the Service. Grand Haven, Michigan, also known as Coast Guard City, USA, annually sponsors the Coast Guard Festival around August 4. Typically it is the largest community celebration of a branch of the Armed Forces in the nation.

In addition to celebrating their own day every year, Coast Guard members also participate as equal partners in Armed Forces Day activities.

2nd Annual Bike Day At The Diamond

Bike Day ar the Diamond

For more information please visit the Facebook Page

Project 22 – Promoted by Team RWB Boston

Project 22

Tuesday, July 28 7:30PM – 9:12PM
$14.00 General
at Landmark Kendall Square Cinema
Bldg. 1900 One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, US, 02139

For more information on this event please visit the Website

Click here to view the trailers!

The making of Project 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.

We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.

Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, while Medicinal Missions applies for independent non-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible and are made payable to From The Heart Productions via the PayPal link on our website or by check to: From The Heart Productions 1455 Mandalay Beach Road Oxnard, CA 93035-2845

From The Heart has been successfully funding films since inception in 1993 under the 501(c)3 Internal Revenue Code of 1954. Also classified as a public charity under section 509 (a) (2) of the Code. Monetary donations to the Fiscal Sponsorship Program qualify as charitable contributions under the U.S. Tax Code for 95 444 5418.

The 3rd Annual Vermont Veterans Ride

The 3rd Annual Vermont Veterans Ride

6th Annual Big Nick’s Ride for the Fallen Memorial Motorcycle Ride

6th Annual Big Nick's Ride for the Fallen Memorial Motorcycle Ride

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: A Proud Tradition, A Worthy Mission

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary - A Proud Tradition, A Worthy Mission

For over 70 years, tens-of-thousands of men and women of the Coast Guard Auxiliary have spent millions of volunteer hours helping the Coast Guard carry out its mission. They have saved countless lives through their work, on and off the water. Auxiliarists are probably best known for educating the public through their boating safety classes and vessel safety checks. Yet, they do much more. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 allows the Auxiliary to assist the Coast Guard in performance of any Coast Guard function, duty, role, mission or operation authorized by law and authorized by the Commandant.

When the Coast Guard “Reserve” was authorized by act of Congress on June 23, 1939, the Coast Guard was given a legislative mandate to use civilian volunteers to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters. The Coast Guard Reserve was then a non-military service comprised of unpaid, volunteer U.S. citizens who owned motorboats or yachts.

Two years later, on Feb. 19, Congress amended the 1939 act with passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. Passage of this act designated the Reserve as a military branch of the active service, while the civilian volunteers, formerly referred to as the Coast Guard Reserve, became the Auxiliary. So, Feb. 19 is formally recognized as the birth of the Coast Guard Reserve while June 23 is recognized as birthday of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

For more information please visit the website

3rd Annual Boston Motorcycle Marathon Ride

Boston Motorcycle Marathon RideFor More Information Please Visit the Facebook Page!

Putting Amputees Back in the Driver’s Seat

For some people, an automobile is a necessity not a luxury.

To have a full life in America requires mobility -not just the ability to walk or run, but the ability to travel greater distances with more convenience and flexibility than public transportation provides.

For many lower-limb amputees, however, the lack of feet makes driving impossible in a conventionally equipped vehicle. Hand controls along with left foot gas pedals provide the solution. They make it possible for lower-limb amputees and people with other disabilities to enjoy the prosperity and independence that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

Different types of hand controls
Basic hand controls usually consist of a lever attached to a bracket and mounted under the steering column on cars equipped with automatic transmissions. The lever is moved to operate throttle and brakes. Usually the left hand operates the control, allowing the right hand to steer and operate the vehicle’s accessories. The three most common types of hand controls are push/rock, push/twist, right angle pull, and push/pull.

The push rock and push twist hand control works by twisting the handle to apply the gas and pushing it to apply the brakes. The right angle pull hand control works by moving the lever down towards the driver’s lap for acceleration. To apply the brakes, the driver pushes the handle forward towards the front of the car. The push/pull hand control works by pulling on the handle to apply the gas, and pushing for the brakes. Most hand controls, except for a very few, apply the brakes by pushing.

Most hand controls are hand-powered, using linkages or cables to operate the gas and brakes. Some models are power-assisted to make it easier on the hand and arm. Cars are designed for the driver’s foot to operate the gas and brake, so the force required to operate the hand control can be tiring to the hand during long drives. Power-assist options for hand controls range from very complex devices such as an electric joystick, to relatively simple ones that use vacuum power like power brakes. Most hand controls are dual-action devices that permit the simultaneous application of throttle and brake. Dual-action controls are helpful when the car is stopped on a steep hill or when making tight maneuvers on steep grades. The throttle can be applied a little before releasing the brake to prevent the car from coasting backward before moving forward. While most users prefer dual-action, some prefer single-action units because they eliminate the chance of accidentally applying the throttle during braking.

Which is best for you?
The best choice of hand controls for a person depends on a number of factors, such as the car’s layout, expected driving conditions, and the driver’s size, disability, and preference.

Push/twist
Push/twist hand controls are a good choice if either a large driver, a small car, or both, limit space. Economical use of space is achieved because the lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is achieved by twisting the grip in the same manner as operating a motorcycle.

Push/twist controls provide a precise, sporty feel. By necessity, push/twist hand controls are often power-assisted. Without power-assistance, the twisting motion tends to feel stiff, and the hand tires. With a good quality power-assisted twist control, very little effort is required to maintain a throttle setting; simply resting the hand on the handle should provide enough force. This results in less fatigue on long drives.

Push/twist controls are good in tight turns and on rough roads. Throttle surges, which can be experienced with a push/pull or right angle pull device, as the driver and his or her arm bumps, sways, leans, or lurches going through curves and over bumps tend not to occur with a push/twist. Most push/twist controls are dual-action units.

These controls are not recommended for people with grip problems or those with amputated fingers or hands. Good left-hand dexterity is required for safe driving with push/ twist controls.

Right angle pull
Right angle pull controls are the most widely used form of hand control. They are relatively inexpensive and, usually, easy to install and adjust. Operation is simple and intuitive for these strictly mechanical units.

Space, however, can be a problem. Throttle application requires that the lever be moved down toward the driver’s lap. If the driver is large or the car is small, a push/twist or even a push/pull control may be more suitable. Because the lever is connected to the gas pedal with mechanical linkages, the underside of the dashboard will often require trimming.

For those missing fingers, hands, or with reduced grip strength, various handles, wrist straps, grips, etc., can be adapted for the right angle pull control. Specialized handles can be configured for use with a prosthesis. Right angle pull controls are usually dual-action, but also can be single-action.

Push/pull
Push/pull hand controls are by definition single-action. Since the lever is pulled for gas and pushed for brakes, the gas and brakes can never be operated at the same time.

This is the easiest hand control to learn to use. Senior citizens like the push/pull because there is no confusion when learning, after using the foot pedals all their lives. Power-assisted and non-power-assisted models are available. The driver’s hand can rest directly on the lever without causing the throttle to surge.

As with the right angle pull control, different handles can be adapted to the driver to permit safe and easy operation. Power-assisted push/pull hand controls equipped with handle adaptations are recommended for people with limited arm strength and poor manual dexterity.

Some other factors to consider
When shopping for hand controls, aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Car owners can be surprised to find that a section of the dashboard was cut away during the installation process. Most hand controls are mounted under the dash with a support extending into the driver space under the steering column where the lever is connected. A panel under the dashboard is removed during installation. If the hand control’s design and the dashboard layout permit, the panel can be returned allowing the mounting bracket to be hidden. Sometimes, however, the hand control’s hardware protrudes into the passenger space, and the panel cannot be reinstalled without cutting a window in it. Each installation varies with the model of automobile and the particular hand-control unit. Check with your dealer about what you can expect to see when you get your car back.

Many of us share cars with other family members. It is important that the pedals can still be used with the hand control installed and that there are as few impediments to using them as possible. Most good controls provide room for a pedal-pushing driver. Ask the installer what to expect.

Driving should be fun. Poorly designed hand controls, or a badly performed installation, can cause the driver to be distracted or preoccupied with the control, lead to frustration, and reduce safety. Good hand controls, professionally installed, will allow enjoyable, safe driving.

Installation
No matter what type of hand controls you use, you are making a significant modification to your vehicle. It is, therefore, important to have a trained and qualified person perform the installation.

The installer should cut a minimum amount of the dashboard. The handle should be located in a comfortable position so that the driver can hold on to the hand control and hook a thumb over the steering wheel. This position helps to stabilize the steering wheel and the throttle. The whole assembly should feel solid and sturdy. If the installation is done properly using a high-quality control, driving will be easy and fun.

Everyone is different, and each person is a special case. If you are uncertain about your condition and your abilities, consult a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). A CDRS knows about different disabilities and can advise you about the best solution to your driving needs. Contact a CDRS through your rehabilitation facility or through your local amputee support group.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or already drive with hand controls, it is good to know what is out there and what to look for. High-quality hand controls are available, as are skilled mobility technicians who understand the quality and safety issues involved with their installation.

Spend a few extra dollars to purchase a high-quality product and have it professionally installed. You already have made a significant investment in your vehicle. A quality set of hand controls will surely enhance your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

35th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games

If you’re looking for a summer vacation getaway full of excitement, look no further than the National Veterans Wheelchair Games held this year in Dallas, Texas. Whether you’re taking the whole family to experience these acts of courage and strength, or making a stop on your summer accessible road trip, this event supports and benefits our country’s veterans by encouraging a spirit of healthy activity and friendship.

The History
Since the Games began over 30 years ago in 1981, the event has grown from only 74 competitors to over 500 in 2014. This event is presented each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Paralyzed Veterans of America, with additional support from numerous organizations, corporate and community sponsors. Wheelchair sports had their start in the aftermath of World War II, when young disabled Veterans began playing wheelchair basketball in VA hospitals throughout the U.S. Since 1980, when the VA’s efforts brought about an enhanced awareness of the rehabilitative value of wheelchair athletics, VA therapists have used wheelchair sporting as a therapeutic tool for supporting Veterans with disabilities.

The Location
The event has moved from city to city over the years and 2015 marks the 35th annual NVWG. The event is being held in Dallas, a city with much to offer as host, including cultural districts, the best restaurants, hotels and museums for something to do while you’re not at the games. This years games are being held June 21–26, so if you’re looking to turn up the heat this summer, Dallas is the perfect place to be!

The Events
Veterans can compete in 18 different events at the games, including: 9-ball, air rifle, hand cycling, quad rugby, softball, track, table tennis, weightlifting, and many more. Athletes are classified by degree of disability and then further into divisions. Although registration for this years event ended April 15, if you are a U.S. military service veteran who uses a wheelchair due to mobility impairments, be on the lookout early next year to register!

If you aren’t a veteran, or just happened to miss registration but still want to be involved with this event you can always sponsor the games, or volunteer! More than 3,000 local volunteers are required to assist with all aspects of the games, from helping with transportation, to event set-up, water distribution, assistance with meals, and much, much more. Summer time calls for travel and excitement, and what more of a rewarding way to spend your summer days then traveling to Dallas to support our veterans.

Adaptive Mobility Equipment Financing Options

Adaptive equipment describes an installed device, in addition to a structural modification, that is necessary for a person with a permanent physical disability to drive or be transported in a vehicle.

Some equipment not thought of as typical adaptive equipment, or equipment which is not available from the factory, that serves a need to operate or ride in a vehicle for persons with disabilities such as but not limited to: assist handles, keyless entry, keyless ignition switch, lumbar support, headrest adjustment, pedal extensions power seats, remote liftgate opener, running boards, seat belt extenders, seat modifications, and special mirrors may be eligible for reimbursement and require additional documentation. You will be notified if additional documentation is needed such as a letter or prescription clearly describing the permanent physical disability requiring this equipment, prepared by a licensed or certified medical professional.

Factory installed options such as air conditioning, running boards, lumbar seats and power windows are not considered eligible under the terms of the program.

Driving is a privilege for people stroke survivors with limited mobility; it provides a sense of stability in their lives so they can regain their independence. They love the flexibility their adaptive mobility equipment provides, but they often face exorbitant costs when it comes to financing the purchase of the equipment.

“The number one reason people with disabilities don’t have access to adequate transportation is because they cannot afford it.” The good news is that funding assistance to purchase adaptive equipment is becoming increasingly available.

Sources of funding determine a person’s “buying power.” Unlike the financing options provided by original equipment manufacturers, Mobility Equipment Dealers, such as such as ourselves, have access to financing options specifically for adaptive equipment purchases; they offer options and solutions for the customer.

Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers grants enabling 100% service related disabled veterans to purchase a new or used modified vehicle and adaptive equipment. Automobile grants are available once in the service member’s lifetime and adaptive equipment grants are available for special equipment that may used more than once.  For more information, call 1-800-827-1000 or read the VA’s “Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants” fact sheet.

State Programs

  • State Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) Agencies may be able to assist with the costs associated with purchasing an adaptive vehicle (or adding adaptive equipment to an existing one) if the vehicle is necessary in order for a person to get to and from work.
  • State Assistive Technology Loan Programs may also be able to provide assistance to help pay for modifications to the vehicle.
  • Center for Independent Living (CIL) can provide additional information on programs that may be available in your state.

Government Programs

  • Medicaid: Medicaid is a jointly administered federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid benefits differ by state and are approved on a case-by-case basis when a request for funding is presented through a prior approval.
  • Medicare: Medicare is a federal program and in some instances they will pay for adaptive equipment following a specialty evaluation performed by a qualified practitioner. For more information, call 1-800-633-4227.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI offers a Plan to Achieve Self-Support program, or PASS, which helps those with disabilities pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific employment goal – to ultimately return to work.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Often sales-tax exemptions on equipment purchases and other out-of-pocket costs can qualify for tax deductions as medical expenses. Contact a tax adviser or get literature from the IRS that outlines the tax code for medical equipment by calling 1-800-829-1040 and asking for publications with extensions 3966, 907 and 502.

Workman’s Compensation:
Your insurance or workman’s compensation policies may also pay for vehicle adaptation. Check with your HR department or workman’s comp. organization for more information.

Fundraisers, Charitable Organizations/Churches
These may not be for everyone, but they can be effective and many people have successfully raised the money to pay for a wheelchair accessible vehicle and adaptive equipment using these options.

Automakers Rebate Programs
Many automobile makers are providing people with disabilities a wide range of rebates and incentive programs to cover adaptive equipment installation. Below is an overview of some programs offering rebates or reimbursements for adaptive mobility equipment.

  • Ford Motor Company: The Ford Mobility Motoring adaptive equipment reimbursement offers up to $1,000 off for a vehicle modification. You may also qualify for up to $200 for alert hearing devices, lumbar support, or running boards installed on any new Ford or Lincoln vehicle purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period.
  • Daimler Chrysler Corporation: Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.
  • General Motors Company Reimbursement Program:  New vehicle purchasers/lessees who install eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive up to a $1,000 reimbursement for the cost of the equipment.
  • Toyota: The Toyota Mobility Assistance Program provides cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of any aftermarket adaptive equipment or conversion, for drivers and/or passengers, when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota vehicle within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease.

The decision to purchase adaptive mobility equipment stems from a need for mobility freedom for people with disabilities, including stroke survivors. The purchase process begins with selecting a reputable dealer to provide the adaptive equipment and installation, locating options to finance the purchase, and ends with insuring the adaptive equipment.

Make sure the after-market mobility modifications are professionally installed by a NMEDA mobility dealer. Once the adaptive mobility equipment is financed and installed, notify your insurance agent with a full disclosure of all adaptive mobility equipment installed in the vehicle.

Make sure your auto insurance company provides coverage for the conversion and adaptive equipment. Make sure you request coverage for “special” equipment, not just “handicapped” equipment.

  • “Handicapped equipment” covers only basic equipment such as the ramp or lift, not the lowered floor, kneeling system, lockdown system or other adaptive equipment.
  • “Special equipment” covers the conversion in its entirety. Be sure and send your insurance company an itemized list of every modification (which you can get from the mobility dealership that performed the conversion).

VMi New England Mobility Center is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a wheelchair accessible car, truck or van, please contact us at 508-697-6006  info@newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness

In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).

PTSD is an anxiety disorder resulting from exposure to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hyper-vigilance for cues that  indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

  • An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
  • An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
  • Approximately 8 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
  • An estimated 1 out of 10 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

Veterans Assisting Veterans Comedy Night

Veterans Assisting Veterans Comedy Night

Friday May 29 at 7:00
VFW Mottolo Post in Revere
10 Garafolo Street Revere, MA

Check out the Facebook Page and join them for a great night of comedy, Pork Roast Dinner and good times to help raise funds towards two truck mounted AmeriDeck lifts. These are needed to aid in the use of Track Chairs for a couple wounded vets. We also hope to promote and raise awareness of what Veterans Assisting Veterans does and is all about. Donation of $20.00 per person collected at the door.

Funding an Accessible Vehicle

For some people living with disabilities, purchasing a handicap accessible vehicle seems like it’s only a dream. With the cost of medical equipment and treatments, raising the funds needed to purchase a van or truck can be challenging. However, there are a number of programs and options available should you need assistance. These rebates and funding opportunities make getting behind the wheel of an accessible vehicle a smooth ride.

Financing
When it comes to financing handicap accessible vehicles, the number of options can be overwhelming. From traditional sources available at dealerships to third party organizations, being able to afford a new van or car will require you to do a bit of research on what the best route is for you and your family. In most cases, however, financing a vehicle can break down payments into manageable monthly installments, making your purchase more affordable.

Rebates
Many manufacturers offer rebate programs to customers with disabilities purchasing accessibility products. Each manufacturer handles their rebate program differently, however most of them grant opportunities to receive up to $1,000 back on vehicle customizations. To provide more information about these programs, we’ve compiled a list of manufacturers with such offers, as well as contact details, on our Rebates page.

Government Funding
From Veterans Administration Agencies to Medicare and Medicaid, there are also government funding options available for those wishing to purchase handicap accessible vehicles. As with any other funding option, prior research is necessary to ensure you qualify for coverage, however your local mobility dealer can go over your options with you and help you make an informed decision.

Fundraising
Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can be challenging, but is definitely a route to consider. After all, there are not many things that can’t be accomplished when a community bands together. Although it may not be a viable option for everyone, raising funds through donations and sponsorships might make the journey to a new vehicle much easier. Websites like GoFundMe have also made it simpler to rally supporters and accept donations.

With these options, owning handicap accessible vehicles is more affordable than you might think. Be sure to visit a mobility dealer to go over your needs and uncover even more possibilities.

ALS

ALS

Memorial Day Parade! Help Surprise Veterans!

Memorial Day Parade! Help Surprise The Veterans!

When
Memorial Day – Monday, May 25
At 10:00am in Athol, Massachusetts

“Please show your support to our veterans, the parade starts at Silver Lake cemetery, and they follow Crescent st ” the same road Staretts is on ” All the way down to the Veterans monument, across from the YMCA ” Next to the bus stop! We all have the day off from work/school, why not show your support? These men and women are more than deserving of it. The best part is, these veterans are not expecting this, they are in for a huge surprise!”

For more information please visit the Facebook Page

Accessible Preparations for Memorial Day

Hosting a Memorial Day Party is the perfect way to kick off your summer adventures, and here are some tips on how to make sure your gathering is accessible and fun for all!

Choose Your Location
To ensure all of your guests are able to easily maneuver around your party and its surroundings, make certain there are ramps, lifts or unobstructed entryways available for guests in wheelchairs. Another thing to consider is parking. If some of your guests will be arriving in wheelchair accessible vans, they might need a little bit of extra room to deploy a lift or ramp.

You can host an accessible Memorial Day party if your home or apartment is less than wheelchair-friendly. Local parks often rent out pavilions or picnic areas for gatherings, and these areas often boast open spaces and paved paths, making them a great bet for guests in wheelchairs.

Perfect Your Spread
From grilling up veggies and even fresh fruits, to stocking up on refreshing drinks to beat the summer heat, making sure you’re serving up tasty treats is perhaps the most important part of throwing a great, memorable party. When planning your party’s spread, always take into consideration any possible allergies or food restrictions your guests might have. If you’re sending out invites, it might be a good idea to ask guests of any food requirements right on the invitation, so you’ll be armed with the right information when it comes time to shop and prep.

Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Every good party needs some entertainment. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a full band though—making your own fun is easy! You could set out the board games for some old school fun or create a dance floor on your deck or living room with plenty of room. Start a game of trivia, charades or bingo, you could even break out the karaoke machine and make some hilarious and potentially embarrassing memories.

Memorial Day is a day for honoring and remembering all of the brave men and women who served (and continue to serve) in our country’s Armed Forces. As such, if you have a disabled veteran attending your party, think of ways that you can honor him/her in some special way.

The 5th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Is Today! Come Say Hi!

Bosotn Wpunded Vet Run 2015

What
Motorcycle Ride and Concert
Ceremony – Food – Music By TigerLily Band
Beer Tent – Vendors -Raffle Items – Stunt Show

Motorcycle NOT REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE -Everyone Welcome
Those who do not ride can join us at Suffolk Downs to welcome Veterans and Bikers!

Purpose
To support four of New England’s most severely wounded Veterans:
SSG Nick Lavery
SGT Brendan Ferreira
SSG Travis Mills
SSG Mike Downing
All donations directly benefit these wounded Veterans and charities of their choosing.

When
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Rain date: May 16, 2015
Registration begins at 9am.
Kickstands up 12pm

Where
Begins at:
Boston Harley-Davidson
650 Squire Road, Revere, Ma

Ends at:
Suffolk Downs Race Track
550 McClellan Hwy East Boston

Cost
$20 per rider
10$ passenger
$20 Walk-ins

Donate Here!!
Donations can be made out to ‘Boston’s Wounded Veterans’ and sent to:
60 Paris Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Call with any questions: (617) 697-5080

Boston’s 5th Annual Wounded Vet Run Is Tomorrow!!

Boston's 5th Annual Wounded Vet Run - 2015

What
Motorcycle Ride and Concert
Ceremony – Food – Music By TigerLily Band
Beer Tent – Vendors -Raffle Items – Stunt Show

Motorcycle NOT REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE -Everyone Welcome
Those who do not ride can join us at Suffolk Downs to welcome Veterans and Bikers!

Purpose
To support four of New England’s most severely wounded Veterans:
SSG Nick Lavery
SGT Brendan Ferreira
SSG Travis Mills
SSG Mike Downing
All donations directly benefit these wounded Veterans and charities of their choosing.

When
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Rain date: May 16, 2015
Registration begins at 9am.
Kickstands up 12pm

Where
Begins at:
Boston Harley-Davidson
650 Squire Road, Revere, Ma

Ends at:
Suffolk Downs Race Track
550 McClellan Hwy East Boston

Cost
$20 per rider
10$ passenger
$20 Walk-ins

Donate Here!!
Donations can be made out to ‘Boston’s Wounded Veterans’ and sent to:
60 Paris Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Call with any questions: (617) 697-5080

Motorcycle Awareness MonthMay is Motorcycle Awareness Month.
Share The Road.

Veterans & Community: Job & Resource Fair

Veterans & Community Job & Resource Fair

Bridgewater’s POW Remembrance Dinner

Bridgewater's POW Remembrance Dinner

Bridgewater will hold a POW-MIA Remembrance Dinner.
A ceremony will be performed to help us remember those who have not returned home.

Saturday, June 13.
VFW Post 2125, 40 Orange Street
Tickets are available for $25.
Doors open at 5 p.m.
Dinner Starts at 6 p.m.

Dinner includes: Caesar salad, balsamic marinated grilled chicken, creamy mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

Contact Jason Cox for more information or tickets:
Call  339-832-8712
Email  j.coxusmc@outlook.com

Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair: One Month Away

Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair

Join them for a hiring expo for service members, veterans, and military spouses at Fenway Park in Boston.

Fenway Park

20 Yawkey Way

Boston, MA 02215

 

Event Schedule:
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Employment Workshop
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Hiring Expo

Registration
Job Seekers, Employers, and Service Organizations: Click here to register.
Why register? Job seekers can upload their resumes to be viewed by employers ahead of the event.

If you have any other questions, please visit their FAQ page.

This Boston Red Sox and GE sponsored hiring event is being conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), the Massachusetts Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Goodwill Industries International, The American Legion, NBC News, and other local partners.

The Benefits of a Wheelchair Van for Service Dogs

Many of the innovative designs that make up a wheelchair van are also convenient for your four-legged friends. From spacious cabins to simple ramps systems, a wheelchair van just might empower a service dog nearly as much as it enables a person with a wheelchair, a caregiver or a disabled veteran. Wheelchair vans allow service dogs and their owners to:

  • Find comfortable and flexible seating in the roomy cabins
  • Remove the unnecessary and dangerous stress and strain from traditional loading and unloading options
  • Speed up the process of entering and exiting the vehicle
  • Create safer alternatives in parking spot entrance, exit and maneuverability
  • Transport the entire family in one trip
  • Prevent the wear and tear a dog may unintentionally inflict upon smaller vehicles
  • Integrate durable floors for wheelchairs that are scuff-resistant for dogs, too
  • Enter and exit from the same side door at nearly the same time

Purple Up For Military Kids!

Purple Up For Military Kids!

April is Month of the Military Child, a time to recognize the sacrifices made by military families and their children. On April 15 you can wear purple to show your support for our military families.

Wearing the color purple is a visible way to show support and thank military youth for their strength and sacrifices. Why purple? Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is a combination of Army green, Marine red, and Coast Guard, Air Force, and Navy blue.

Travis Mills Foundation Retreat

The TMF retreat, located in Maine, will provide fully accessible facilities dedicated to serving the recreational and reintegration needs of combat-wounded veterans and their families. The retreat will fill a vital role in the recovery, camaraderie, spousal support, reconnection, and relaxation needs of our disabled veteran families.   Upon completion of extensive renovations, veteran families from all over the United States will be invited to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, site-seeing, campfires, adaptive sports, and spa treatments like massage, facials, and yoga.

For more information and updates on their progress to fully renovate and rehabilitate the property please visit The Travis Mills Foundation Retreat website. If you would like to show your support by donating to the Travis Mills Foundation you can do so here.

5th Annual Monti’s Run

5th Annual Monti's Run

Sunday, May 17, 2015
American Legion Post 405
SFC Jared C. Monti Function Room
219 Mill St. Raynham, Ma 02767
Registration: 9:30 and Ride Leaves at Noon Sharp
$20 per rider, passenger and Event only
Please join us for Pig roast, BBQ, Raffles and Entertainment by “Money Shot”
Proceeds Benefit SFC Jared C. Monti Charitable Foundation
www.sfcjaredcmonti.org
Complimentary Continental Breakfast at Registration

Boston’s 5th Annual Wounded Vet Run Is One Month Away!!

Boston's 5th Annual Wounded Vet Run - 2015

What
Motorcycle Ride and Concert
Ceremony – Food – Music By TigerLily Band
Beer Tent – Vendors -Raffle Items – Stunt Show

Motorcycle NOT REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE -Everyone Welcome
Those who do not ride can join us at Suffolk Downs to welcome Veterans and Bikers!

Purpose
To support four of New England’s most severely wounded Veterans:
SSG Nick Lavery
SGT Brendan Ferreira
SSG Travis Mills
SSG Mike Downing
All donations directly benefit these wounded Veterans and charities of their choosing.

When
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Rain date: May 16, 2015
Registration begins at 9am.
Kickstands up 12pm

Where
Begins at:
Boston Harley-Davidson
650 Squire Road, Revere, Ma

Ends at:
Suffolk Downs Race Track
550 McClellan Hwy East Boston

Cost
$20 per rider
10$ passenger
$20 Walk-ins

Donate Here!!
Donations can be made out to ‘Boston’s Wounded Veterans’ and sent to:
60 Paris Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Call with any questions: (617) 697-5080

April is the Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child

In 1986 the Department of Defense deemed April as the Month of the Military Child. From deployments to frequent moves, military children face unique challenges that most youth their age do not experience. This annual awareness campaign recognizes the sacrifices made and applauds the courage of military children.

  • Military families relocate 10 times more often the civilian families; on average, every two or three years
  • Since 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a parent deployed at least once.
  • More than 900,000 children have experienced the deployment of one or both parents multiple times.
  • Children in military families experience high rates of mental health, trauma, and related problems. About 30% reported feeling sad or hopeless almost everyday for 2 weeks during the past 12 months. Nearly 1 in 4 reported having considered suicide.
  • 37% of children with a deployed parent reported that they seriously worry about what could happen to their deployed caretaker.

Adaptive Golf

Whether you want to learn the game or hone your skills, there is a golf program for everyone! Many solutions exist for whatever stops you from enjoying the game of golf, from carts to clubs to accessories and specialty devices.

  • Adaptive golf carts now have swivel and extending seats and armrests to play while seated as well as elevating lifts that allow paraplegics and others with limited leg strength to play from a standing position.
  • Adaptive golf clubs can have special grips for those with missing fingers, deformed hands, osteoarthritis or loss of strength. Some are specialized for seated or standing golfers. Some club shafts are bent for seated individuals.
  • Gloves and grip aids include prosthetic golf grip devices, elastic gripping devices and more.
  • Accessories include tee setters and ball retrieval systems to reduce bending. One device even stabilizes your balance.

Search for a golf program for those with disabilities in your area to get tailored instruction from golf instructors certified to teach. For more information, check out national associations like the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, the Disabled Sports USA, and/or the United States Golf Assoc.

The Adaptive Golf Foundation of America has scrambles, classics, opens, championships and tournaments across the country throughout the year.

Project 22

Project 22

The cost will be $12.50 for civilians and FREE for Veterans.
VETERANS STILL MUST CLICK ON THE LINK AND RESERVE THEIR TICKETS!

Tickets will go fast and this will be a one night only show so make sure you get yours today! Just go to www.clickitevents.com to purchase yours!

For those riding, there will be a link up at Harley-Davidson of Frederick and then will have an after party at Hardtimes Cafe And Cue.

Saturday, May 2
at 7:00pm
MDL Holiday Cinemas official
100 Baughmans Ln, Frederick, Maryland 21702

For more information on this event please visit the Website or Facebook Page
Click here to view the trailers!
If you can’t make it to the event but still want to support the cause you can Donate Here!

ALL PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT 22 NEEDS A FACE

The making of Project 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.

We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.

Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, while Medicinal Missions applies for independent non-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible and are made payable to From The Heart Productions via the PayPal link on our website or by check to: From The Heart Productions 1455 Mandalay Beach Road Oxnard, CA 93035-2845

From The Heart has been successfully funding films since inception in 1993 under the 501(c)3 Internal Revenue Code of 1954. Also classified as a public charity under section 509 (a) (2) of the Code. Monetary donations to the Fiscal Sponsorship Program qualify as charitable contributions under the U.S. Tax Code for 95 444 5418.

Current Campaign
Statistically, 22 Veterans of the US Military will take their own lives and 22 families will lose loved ones today due to combat-related stresses and injuries. Project 22 follows two combat-wounded Veterans on a mission to find hope. Riding motorcycles from San Francisco to New York, Daniel and Doc speak with Veterans about post-war challenges that lead to suicide and the healing Veterans are finding in alternative forms of therapy such as sailing, pottery, education, service dogs and more.

During the 6,500 mile journey, our riders interview leading researchers, mental health clinicians and educators who specialize in Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, as well as a leading expert in Warrior Culture and Combat Stress. Asking hard hitting questions and opening up about their own struggles, Daniel and Doc will stop at nothing to reach tomorrow’s twenty-two.

Mission Statement
To raise awareness of Veteran suicides and to educate on methods to overcome symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in order to prevent Veteran suicides and make alternative therapies available to Veterans with PTS and TBI.

Universal design

Universal design

Universal Design makes things safer, easier and more convenient for everyone.
Universal Design involves designing products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Universal Design evolved from Accessible Design, a design process that addresses the needs of people with disabilities. Universal Design goes further by recognizing that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age. By designing for this human diversity, we can create things that will be easier for all people to use.

Who Does Universal Design Benefit?
Everyone.
Universal Design takes into account the full range of human diversity, including physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities, as well as different body sizes and shapes. By designing for this diversity, we can create things that are more functional and more user-friendly for everyone. For instance, curb cuts at sidewalks were initially designed for people who use wheelchairs, but they are now also used by pedestrians with strollers or rolling luggage. Curb cuts have added functionality to sidewalks that we can all benefit from.

What can be Universally Designed?
Everything.

  • Universal Design can apply to anything that can be designed, including products like door handles, kitchen utensils and smartphones.
  • Universal Design can be applied to architecture and the built environment, including public and commercial buildings, as well as residential buildings and family homes.
  • Universal Design can also be applied to the community at large through urban planning and public transportation.

Universal Design vs. the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a piece of legislation that protects the civil rights of people with disabilities by ensuring that they are not unfairly denied access to job opportunities, goods or services due to their disability. The ADA includes the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which outlines accessibility requirements for buildings and facilities. There is a great deal of overlap between what is required under the ADA and what would be suggested by Universal Design, but there are also differences. The ADA outlines the bare minimum necessary in order to curb discrimination against people with disabilities, while Universal Design strives to meet the best practices for design, which are always evolving and improving as we continue to learn more about how to best meet people’s different needs. The ADA focuses solely on the civil rights of people with disabilities, while Universal Design is designed with everyone in mind. The ADA does not apply to single family residences, while Universal Design can and should.

Below are some examples of universal designs:

Low Force Flooring Materials
There is actually a reason that short, stiff carpets and hard surface floors are found in most public buildings. If you use a wheelchair, you know how difficult it can be to push through even slightly plush carpet. Wheelchairs, handcarts, strollers – they are all easier to operate on hard surfaces.

Seamless Room Transitions
Room thresholds are most common in transitions between areas of carpeting and hard surfaces, and those lips can be not only difficult, but painful to maneuver over. Sticking to a consistent flooring style and removing those thresholds can make a huge impact on ease of maneuvering an interior.

Access for Pools
An hour of freely moving around in the water gives people with severe arthritis, muscle atrophy, and more a way to recover and live a significantly more pain-free life. This is why an increasing number of public pools have accessible chairs on metal arms by the side of the pool.

Lever Handles Instead of Knobs
Knobs, while being visually more appealing, require quite a bit more arm and wrist torque to move the bolt. Lever handles require both less force and overall motion.

Close Captioning/Large Print
Tablets, eReaders, smartphones, and more have shortcuts to increase font size easily – another great example of subtle universal design. This is the same principle behind why Netflix, YouTube and others alike now have captioning built in. Disability or not, these features can make life easier.

 

Great Career Options For Those With DisAbilities

In today’s highly-competitive workforce, finding a quality job can be a challenge. For individuals with disAbilities, the competition is even more extreme, but there are some positive changes on the horizon. Career opportunities are greater than they have ever been for individuals with disAbilities. This is largely credited to the ADA, which helps accommodate people with disAbilities and works to prevent discrimination within the workforce.

Here are a few great options for those with disAbilities to claim a spot on the workforce.

  • Working From Home
    From jobs as writers, salespersons or teachers through online courses, people with disAbilities have a wide variety of options available when it comes to working from home. There are also excellent opportunities for teaching gigs outside the home, as most schools are very wheelchair-friendly.
  • Working in Finance
    Accounting and financial jobs are viable career paths for those that need mobility help as office buildings have become more and more accessible throughout the years. Ernest & Young was listed as number one on Diversity Inc.’s “Top 10 Companies for People With DisAbilities” list. Also on the list was the Hardfort Financial Services Group.
  • Working with Computers
    Another great option for a career is one involving computers. This Internet and electronic age is booming. With more demand for people that are technologically savvy comes more prospects for job seekers. IBM is not only another one of the top employers for candidates with disAbilities but also a leader in computer technology. Computer systems analysts and software developers usually require a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences or a similar field, but technical vocation jobs are available for those without related degrees and require less schooling.
  • Legal Careers
    The legal world is another field that is accommodating for mobility assistance. Being a lawyer for those who share your disAbilities may even be your niche.  There are many other options for a legal career such as being a legal secretary, paralegal or legal assistant, all of which require certification but do not necessarily require a degree.
  • Government Jobs
    Lastly, the government is a great employer for people with disAbilities. Since the 1980s, federal employment has remained at 7 percent.

Where to Find your Career
The easiest place to start looking today is on online job boards. While there are many job boards to choose from, GettingHired.com accommodates people with disabilities by providing special search filters.

No matter where you start your search, it’s important to get out there and jump into the job hunt, knowing that the ADA, and yourself, can demand the necessary accommodations for equal opportunity in the workforce.

Carry The Fallen – Boston Marathon Route

 Carry The Fallen

Active Heroes, a 501c3 charity presents the Carry The Fallen Ruck-March event. Carry The Fallen is a team hiking event lasting 3, 6, 12 or 22 hours (depending on the event) that is part of the charity’s Active Challenges program that builds camaraderie, wellness, morale and connects military families with supporters and peer mentors. Participants carry weight to symbolize the emotional weight that many veterans are carrying after war.  22 veterans a day take their own lives and Active Heroes is working towards reducing these numbers with a one of a kind Military Family Retreat Center located in Shepherdsville, KY. Carry the Fallen participants can Fund-Raise towards building the retreat center after registering.

Register for free or register to become an Active Heroes Ambassador for $50 and you will be sent a Carry The Fallen shirt, bumper sticker, refrigerator magnet, flyers (donation Cards), and an Ambassador Booklet containing suicide prevention information and peer mentor campaign information. Shipping is included in the $50 donation.

Earn your Carry The Fallen Patch by fundraising $100 or more and completing a 3, 6, 12 or 22 hour long Carry The Fallen Ruck-March event! Carry The Fallen Team Leaders will distribute patches, only to participants who raise $100, during the closing ceremony of the event.  Participants can even make their own donations towards the patch on their fundraising page, or keep sharing their fundraising page on social media, emails and in other conversations to raise the $100 minimum donation amount.

Carry the Fallen 3, 6, 12, 22

Carry The Fallen – Boston Marathon Route
March 21, 2015
6:00am – 7:00pm

Active Heroes – Team Minuteman (All participants) will be rucking the Boston Marathon route starting at 1 Ash St. Hopkinton MA 01748 and finishing at 659 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116.  There will be on street parking at the starting point.  Transportation back to starting point is up to participants to schedule.  Some people drop cars at the finish line in Boston to help shuttle people back to the beginning.  Please help carpool if you can.  The team will be followed by an RV during the hike to help assist people who drop out during the 26.2 miles. The hike moves as fast as the slowest person.

Carry as much weight that you can carry for the entire march but make sure you don’t over do it for safety. Please wear an Active Heroes or Carry The Fallen shirt to the event to help spread awareness about reducing veteran suicide through Active Heroes. You can find more shirts and gear at: www.ActiveHeroes.org and search for store. Learn more about the Carry The Fallen event at www.CarryTheFallen.org

Safety is very important. Depending on your hiking event the terrain might be on road ways and traffic can be present. Children are allowed to the event but please keep an eye on them for safety. Flashing lights or reflectors belts are encouraged for early morning hiking or night time events. bring plenty of water, sports drinks with no excess sodium, first aide kit and energy snacks. Bathroom breaks are generally planned but keep in mind that Team Leaders are working to keep everyone together to accomplish the long distance event, so stops wont be frequent unless of medical emergencies.

Above all, the Carry the Fallen events are extremely fun and the entire family can join. Your help is needed to build the retreat to help reduce Veteran Suicide. Learn More About the Military Family Retreat here: www.ActiveHeroes.org

Semper Fi Fund: Our mission is crucial. Our duty is clear.

About The SEMPER FI FUND (SFF):
The Semper Fi Fund, and its program America’s Fund, provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities. Since establishing the Semper Fi Fund in 2004, they’ve issued more than 86,000 grants, totaling more than $102 million in assistance to over 13,300 of our heroes and their families.

Who Are They?:
The Semper Fi Fund was created by a group of Marine Corps spouses nine years ago, and those same women run the Fund today alongside other spouses from all service branches, retired service members, all of whom intimately know the needs of our military families. They have been by our injured and ill service members’ sides from day one, helping them as they navigate lengthy recoveries and rejoin their communities.

How They Help:
Financial, emotional, and tiered support for our injured/ill service members and their families through the following programs: Family Support, Adaptive Housing, Adaptive Transportation, Specialized Equipment, Education and Career Transitioning, Rehabilitative Sports programs, and more.

Who They Help:
Qualifying post 9/11 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and reservists with amputations, spinal cord injuries, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), burns, blindness, other physical injuries, or those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. We also help spouses and children of active duty service members who face a life threatening illness or injury.

How Are They Unique:
The Semper Fi Fund has been awarded the highest ratings from watch dog groups: A+ Top Rated Charity from CharityWatch, and we are one of only three veteran nonprofits to receive this rating in recent years; and 4 Stars from Charity Navigator a rating only given to 4% of all charities. They maintain an extremely low overhead – 6% and provide rapid assistance with no red tape.

How They Raise Funding:
The Semper Fi Fund relies completely on donations from generous individuals, corporations, foundations, and community groups. In an effort to keep their fundraising and administrative costs low, they do not receive government funding or use direct mail campaigns. Their communities across the country host fundraising and awareness events for their mission, both big and small: golf tournaments, motorcycle poker runs, 5/10K races, dinners, and contests – whatever their passion may be! Their are members of the Combined Federal Campaign, through which federal, civilian, postal, and military donors can support us. They encourage all citizens across America to join them in their quest to support our military members who have sacrificed so much in the service to our country.

Their Philosophy:
The basic ideal that drives our efforts is simple: for as much as our heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. They are committed to being there at the time of injury or illness and for a lifetime if needed.

Looking Forward:
The Semper Fi Fund has been successful over the years thanks to their loyal supporters, both individuals and corporations. Yet our challenges continue to intensify due to the level of severity of injury, illness, and post-traumatic stress unique to the length of war on terrorism. These critical injuries are brought home and often call for a lifetime of assistance.

Tax-deductible contributions from people like you make up our lifeblood; whether donations are large or small, a one-time gift or ongoing endowment, every individual or corporation has the power to make a real difference, here and now, no matter where they are in the world.

The Semper Fi Fund is forever grateful to each of their supporters who share in their ongoing mission.

Please help them help those who have given so much in the name of freedom.

Where To Begin: Accessibility Options

Vehicles can be adapted in many different ways, but the options are almost always dependent on how the wheelchair user plans to use it on a day-to-day basis. A few questions to consider when initially thinking about what you need are:

  • What’s the ideal location for the wheelchair user to sit in the vehicle?
  • Will the wheelchair user be driving?
  • Does the wheelchair user want to transfer out of their seat?
  • Is the wheelchair positioned at an extended height or width?

After those questions are answered, you can begin to look into the various accessibility conversions available to fit your vehicle needs. A few of the most common features include hand controls, transfer seats and ramp or lift style.

VA Adaptive Sports Program

Mission Redefined
Your courage, your determination and your drive all led you to serve America proudly. Those same characteristics will also lead to satisfaction and success in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans who are physically active simply have more fun! To get started, take some time to review the many sports opportunities available to you by reaching out to your VA clinical team.

Get started by learning how disabled Veterans can benefit from adaptive sports. If you have questions, contact them at vacoadaptiveSP@va.gov.

2015 Schedule of National Events
2014 Annual Report to Congress

The Grant Program
The Grants for Adaptive Sports Programs for disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (ASG Program) provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities disabled Veterans and members of the Armed Forces have to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels. Learn more»

Training Allowance
Interested in becoming a Paralympic athlete?
The VA National Veterans Sports Programs & Special Events Office provides a monthly assistance allowance for disabled Veterans as authorized by 38 U.S.C. 322(d) and Section 703 of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 for qualifying athletes training in Paralympic sports.

Through the program, VA will pay a monthly allowance to a Veteran with either a service-connected or non-service-connected disability if the Veteran meets the minimum military standards or higher (e.g., Emerging, Talent Pool, National Team) in his or her respective sport at a recognized competition. Besides making the military standard, an athlete must also be nationally or internationally classified by his or her respective sport federation as eligible for Paralympic competition within six or 12 months of a qualifying performance.

Athletes must also have established training and competition plans and are responsible for turning in monthly and quarterly reports in order to continue receiving the monthly assistance allowance. The allowance rate for an athlete approved for monetary assistance is the same as the 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) rate, which in FY 2013 ranged from $585.11 up to $1,104.64 per month, depending on the number of dependents.

Download the VA Training Allowance Standards

Download the VA Training Allowance Briefing

To learn more about the specific sport standards or the monthly assistance allowance, email them at vacoadaptiveSP@va.gov.

Invisible DisAbilities

Invisible DisAbilities

In general, the term disAbility is often used to describe an ongoing physical challenge. This could be a bump in life that can be well managed or a mountain that creates serious changes and loss. Either way, this term should not be used to describe a person as weaker or lesser than anyone else. Every person has a purpose, special uniqueness and value, no matter what hurdles they may face.

In addition, just because a person has a disAbility, does not mean they are disAbled. Many living with these challenges are still fully active in their work, families, sports or hobbies. Some with disAbilities are able to work full or part time, but struggle to get through their day, with little or no energy for other things. Others are unable to maintain gainful or substantial employment due to their disAbility, have trouble with daily living activities and/or need assistance with their care.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) an individual with a disAbility is a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment (Disability Discrimination).

Furthermore, “A person is considered to have a disability if he or she has difficulty performing certain functions (seeing, hearing, talking, walking, climbing stairs and lifting and carrying), or has difficulty performing activities of daily living, or has difficulty with certain social roles (doing school work for children, working at a job and around the house for adults)” (Disabilities Affect One-Fifth of All Americans).

Often people think the term, disAbility, only refers to people using a wheelchair or walker. On the contrary,  the 1994-1995 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) found that 26 million Americans (almost 1 in 10) were considered to have a severe disAbility, while only 1.8 million used a wheelchair and 5.2 million used a cane, crutches or walker (Americans with Disabilities 94-95). In other words, 74% of Americans who live with a severe disAbility do not use such devices. Therefore, a disAbility cannot be determined solely on whether or not a person uses assistive equipment.

The term invisible disAbilities refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.  These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person.

Also, someone who has a visible impairment or uses an assistive device such as a wheelchair, walker or cane can also have invisible disAbilities. For example, whether or not a person utilizes an assistive device, if they are debilitated by such symptoms as described above, they live with invisible disAbilities.

Unfortunately, people often judge others by what they see and often conclude a person can or cannot do something by the way they look. This can be equally frustrating for those who may appear unable, but are perfectly capable, as well as those who appear able, but are not.

The bottom line is that everyone with a disAbility is different, with varying challenges and needs, as well as abilities and attributes.  Thus, we all should learn to listen with our ears, instead of judging with our eyes.

2015 National Veterans Golden Age Games

2015 National Veterans Golden Age Games

#22KILL: Battle Buddy

Become a Veterans’ Advocate and “Battle Buddy”
You do not have to be a trained professional to help someone in need. You don’t have to be a veteran to empathize with their situation. People in a crisis sometimes just need someone to talk to because they feel alone and unheard by those who are closest to them.  They may feel too ashamed to call out for help from their friends and family and can benefit from speaking to an anonymous individual.  By not feeling judged, they can feel more comfortable about opening up and and talking about their situation.

Criteria:

  • Have a genuine love and respect for veterans and all active military members. You do not have to be a veteran.
  • Have a cell phone, and be willing to take calls/texts at any time from a veteran wanting to talk

Roles/Responsibilities:
As a Battle Buddy, you will have a profile listed on www.22kill.com’s  public directory, and veterans in crisis will be able to find you and call you if they want to talk. Your commitment is to simply be someone who cares and to listen if a veteran ever calls. That’s it. Don’t judge; don’t push. Just having someone to talk to who genuinely cares and will listen can make a substantial difference. If you do feel there is a crisis, you can call 911 or have someone else call.

 If you are not comfortable with being a Battle Buddy there are other ways you can help as a Veterans’ Advocate. We encourage you to join Team #22KILL in connecting and growing the veteran support system. Become a volunteer for their events and community projects, and share their page with your network of friends, family, and every veteran you know.

Sign up and become a Battle Buddy today!
Please Visit www.22kill.com for more information

Warfighter Sports

Warfighter Sports have provided 8,200 wounded warriors and family opportunities to participate in more than 30 sports since 2003, free of any costs.

The mission of Warfighter Sports is simple:
Provide adaptive sports to severely wounded warriors free of cost. Thanks to generous supporters, they have supported 1,500 wounded warriors just last year alone.

Apply To Be  A Warfighter Here

Warfighter Sports Individual Training Grants
Warfighter Sports is offering grants to veterans and members of the armed forces with permanent physical disabilities who do not have nearby access to adaptive training in the sport of their choice.

Grant funding can be used to assist with participation expenses associated with their individual sport goals. Successful applicants will be awarded grant funding as well as Warfighter Sports apparel to wear during their participation.

The goal of this program is to help veterans and members of the armed forces with permanent physical disabilities gain independence in their chosen sport, so that even if an adaptive club is not available nearby, they have the ability to participate in non-adaptive programs alongside family and friends.

Grants of up to $1000, per warrior, per year are available on a rolling basis until all funds have been spent. Funds are only distributed once valid receipts and reports have been received by Disabled Sports USA. Applicants will be notified if their grant is approved within 21 business days of their submission.

Grant Qualifications:

  • Veterans or members of the armed forces with a permanent physical disability* who do not have nearby access to adaptive training in their chosen sport
  • Veterans or members of the armed forces with a permanent physical disability* who are seeking advanced training, competitive or classification opportunities in their chosen sport
  • $1000 maximum grant awarded per year
  • Must participate in qualified sporting activity (see application for specific list)

*i.e. spinal cord injury, amputation, vision impairment, traumatic brain injury, nerve/joint or muscle damage that permanently impedes function.

 Sample Expenses Covered:

  • Travel expenses to train in an adaptive sport if not offered locally
  • Travel to attend classification opportunities or Paralympic competition
  • Coaching fees for individualized instruction
  • Adaptive sports equipment not covered by the VA

Reporting Requirements: 

The following is to be submitted no later than two weeks post-activity or by September 1, 2015 (whichever is soonest)

  • Brief summary of program outcomes (one paragraph)
  • Photo of participation in activity (preferably while wearing Warfighter Sports provided apparel)
  • Provide valid receipts for expenses

Experienced Mobility Equipment Dealers

When it comes to finding the right transportation solution for your needs the options are almost endless. There’s accessible minivans, trucks, wheelchair and scooter carriers, lifts, ramps, hand controls, transfer seats etc. To ensure you are getting the right mobility products for your specific needs it’s important to get the help of an experienced mobility equipment dealer. Most local mobility equipment dealers have been in business for years and over that time have gained the knowledge and expertise to fit you with the very best product for your situation.

Quality mobility equipment dealers will meet with you in person to help determine your individual needs and what adaptive vehicle or equipment is best for you. They’ll ask you questions about you, your disability, your wheelchair or scooter, how you’ll be using the vehicle, will there be additional drivers, your budget etc.

It’s important that you ask the mobility equipment dealer some specific questions, as well. You’ll need to find out if they offer 24-hour emergency assistance, are their technicians trained and certified, and are they a full service automotive shop. You then have to ask yourself if you feel like they’re easy to work with and ultimately if you want to do business with this dealership.

Whether you buy new or used will depend on your finances but the most important thing is that the vehicle is designed to fit your requirements. Your local mobility dealer is the key to getting you into the right vehicle. Based on your disability, together, you can easily determine what’s the best transportation solution for you.

Un-Converted Senior-Friendly Vehicles

Are you looking for comfortable seating, a roomy driving position, safety, good visibility and wide doors with high entries/lowered floors so you don’t have to struggle to get in and out? In a vehicle with style, of course! Well now most automakers are designing cars with features that are more senior-friendly.

What to look for:

  • Sliding rear doors that require little strength or even better, power sliding doors. Power anything is a plus.
  • Brighter instrument displays and larger type.
  • Doors that open wider.
  • Navigation screens closer to eye level and not at arm’s length.
  • Large side mirrors.

AAA recommends that drivers look for vehicles with features that address their specific health issues/mobility needs:

  • For hip, knee or leg problems, a 6-way adjustable power seat is easier for drivers to enter and exit. Also look for seat heights that hit the driver between mid-thigh and lower buttocks.
  • Arthritic hands, painful or stiff fingers benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls.
  • Those with diminished vision should look for extendable sun visors, large audio and climate controls and easy-to-read displays with contrasting text. And less glare. (Blue-green instrument lighting is easier to read than red.)
  • A roomy trunk that can fit a walker or wheelchair.

If you can’t find one car that has it all, remember that there are many different types of adaptive equipment that could work for you. Adaptive equipment options vary from the ability to control secondary functions like turn signals and wipers with a touchscreen or voice control to pedal extenders, swivel seats and much more.

Find Financial Resources for Your Mobility Needs

Far too often, you find it hard to afford many of the tools and resources that you need in everyday life. For that reason, there are several alternative ways to get funding that will ensure that you get the assistance you need to live a hassle-free life without worrying about breaking the bank.

Here are a few sources of financial assistance to look into if you are finding it hard to cover all of your mobility expenses.

Medicare:
Usually offered only through private companies, Medicare can be a good option for certain medical devices and equipment and is based on your medical necessity for the goods or services you may need help with.

Medicaid:
While there is no exclusive list in terms of medical equipment covered, cases are approved on a case-by-case basis. Medicaid is a great option to look into if your expenses and needs aren’t covered by Medicare.

The IRS:
Did you know that certain mobility aids such as adaptive driving equipment can be deducted from your federal taxes? Contact your local tax adviser to see what equipment and supplies you use regularly to see if they can be deducted.

State Programs:
Check with your state’s vocational rehabilitation agencies to see if your mobility needs are approved for financial assistance. If any of it helps you get to work or perform your job efficiently, you may be covered here. Aside from that, you may also want to check out your local Center for Independent Living to see if they have any other resources that you can look into for financial assistance.

Vehicle-Related:
If you’ve recently had any adaptive equipment or ramps installed in your vehicle—or, for that matter, if you’ve recently purchased wheelchair van—there are some dealerships that will reimburse you for such things. Check with your local mobility-friendly dealership to learn more.

With these resources at your disposal, you can hopefully stop worrying about money and focus more on living a stress-free life where your mobility needs are easily met.

Department of Veteran Affairs: Making Mobility Equipment Accessible & Affordable

The Department of Veteran Affairs is a great resource for making mobility equipment accessible and affordable through available benefits. There are several options available to shoppers for new equipment as well as those looking for upgrades with their current equipment.

One option is to accept a special benefit allowance for automobiles. These funds are available for modifications covered in the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program for existing vehicles- from mini-vans to motor homes. One should check with the local VA office to make sure criteria are met before making a purchase for a specialized vehicle. The application for adaptive equipment is also titled VAF 10-1394. Find more specific information about modifications and the list of required documents for reimbursement by following this link to the VA program profile.

Once in ownership of a modified vehicle, the VA helps cover some repairs however, regular maintenance is not covered. The VA typically allows for two vehicles to be purchased or modified in a 4-year period and exceptions are made for instances of theft, fire, accident, court or legal actions, costly repairs and changes in the driver’s medical needs that would require a new vehicle.

A second option deals with the prescription of orthotic equipment such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Once a veteran is assessed to need mobility equipment by the VA and its doctors- an approved and accredited firm helps fit the veteran in need the top of the line orthotic equipment.  For a list of these firms, follow this link.

Tips For Buying A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

You’re a first time wheelchair van buyer, and like many other customers have questions about handicap vans, or how or where they are built, and what kind of prices to expect. This portion of our website will assist you to find answers to your questions and provide creative mobility product solutions. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible, but the best education of needs and options is done through a consultation with a Mobility Consultant. Our staff knows the inside and out of Adaptive Equipment and can custom fit and recommend the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation for friends, family, and most importantly you!

There are many different options and possibilities with handicap accessible vehicles; the most common option is a wheelchair accessible minivan. A wheelchair accessible van is modified to allow a wheelchair or scooter user to drive their mobility equipment directly into the handicap accessible vehicle with no assistance. Featuring a 10-11″ dropped floor for easy entry and exist (with headroom up to 58″!) and removable front seats that allow the user to ride safely in the front passenger area or even drive from their wheelchair.

TIPS TO BUYING A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE:

  • Create a list of features you want and need, so you can accurately access the cost differences.
  • Take into consideration how you’re going to transport the whole family.
  • Consider the adaptive equipment that needs to be transported. Will it change over time?
  • What is the age of the user and caregivers?
  • Have a budget. Check with a Mobility Consultant to obtain all information including 10-year financing options and rebates available.
  • Talk with a Certified Mobility Consultant to explain features and benefits, and guide you through the wheelchair van conversion buying process.
  • Purchasing your new or used wheelchair van from Ability Center provides a piece-of-mind because we are a Certified Mobility Dealer that is part of NMEDA and is QAP certified.
  • Rent and try before you buy. Ability Center will apply your handicap van rental costs to the purchase of a new or previously-owned handicap accessible vehicle.
  • Buy for today, and tomorrow! It’s a big investment that should last you many years.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:

  • Do you convert the mobility vans there? No. Vans with new ramp conversions are converted in three locations: Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona. We obtain them complete. We install external or internal lifts, and any adaptive equipment necessary to custom fit the driver to their van.
  • What vans are being converted? Currently, the manufacturers are converting the Dodge/Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey Chevrolet/Buick minivans, and Ford E-Series vans & Transit Connects.
  • I want to carry two wheelchairs. Can I? Most handicap van conversions make carrying two wheelchairs a breeze, but that depends on the style of chair or scooter. Talk to our Mobility Specialist they’ll know what will work for you.
  • I can’t make it down to your store. Can you come out? Yes. We love in-home demonstrations. It gives you the chance to have your whole family there and try the new or used handicap van in your own environment. Just pick a van, and we’ll bring it out to you at no-charge.
  • How do I secure my wheelchair? Depending on the model, there are several ways to secure your equipment. Three typical ways are: 4-piont manual strapping system that comes with every van; optional 4-point retractable straps; and the EZ-Lock bracket system. Please check with your Mobility Specialist to see if a bracket designed for your equipment. There are some popular wheelchairs on the market that do not have a bracket.
  • I want to save more money. What do you have? Besides taking advantage of any and all rebates out there, consider a manual ramp version or the very popular used van with a new conversion. A pre-owned conversion van may be the way to go if you are considering a budget. You can save thousands on a pre-owned van.
  • Why is the price set the way it is? The final price is a combined cost of the van AND the mobility conversion. What will determine the overall price is what you want out of the van and options (i.e.: Toyota Sienna Limited versus Dodge Grand Caravan SE). The conversions are priced very closely and do not generally affect overall price.
  • Can I trade in my non-converted vehicle? YES! Bring it by and we’ll give you the best deal on non-converted or converted vehicles. We’ll take the stress out of selling the vehicle on the market.
  • Can I try the van first? Absolutely you can test drive the vehicle to see if it going to work for you and your family!
  • I want to buy my van at the dealer; they’ve been nice to me. Depending on the manufacturer and conversion, that could be done. You will not take physical possession of the van, but your relationship with them will be continued. Before you do, talk to our Mobility Specialists and they’ll let you know if that van can be purchased through your favorite dealer. We have a great working relationship with most dealers, so we know how to work with the auto dealers in your town.
  • Do you offer financing for handicap vans? Yes. We work with banks that finance mobility vans up to 10 years, or on terms that fit your needs. Our rates are comparable to what is on the market.
  • Can I use my own bank? Certainly. But be cautious, you must let them know that it is a van converted for wheelchair access. Some private or national banks will not finance the total cost of the mobility van, and only finance up to 120% of the value of the van prior to conversion. Call your Mobility Specialist before you go to your bank, it may be helpful to assist you with your bank by letting them know of your intentions.
  • Does Medicare pay for vans? No. Due to Medicare guidelines and policy the vehicle conversion is a “deluxe item” only to be used outside the home, for which that equipment Medicare does not deem “medically necessary.”
  • Who will assist with funds for me? Depending on where you live, your state could have funds set aside for financial assistance. These funds are available upon application and approval of your case and if the state has funds available. Sometimes this can take up to 6 months or longer. Call our Mobility Specialist; they will know where to direct you to start the process.
  • I am a disabled Veteran. How do I obtain a mobility van? If the VA has provided you with a wheelchair or scooter, you are entitled to a lift for your existing vehicle or a mobility conversion to transport that equipment. Depending on your diagnosis or if your disability is service connected or not, either will be provided. Call us; we’ll work with your local VA to help you start the process. We are very experienced with Veterans policy and procedures.
  • Can I convert my own van? The handicap vans we offer are complete, but you could convert your own. This is a very rare circumstance, but if it absolutely needs to be done your vehicle needs to fit the manufacturer’s criteria for converting a customer-owned van. In just about all cases, because of the time and additional expenses, it is more beneficial and cost effective to the customer to purchase a van post-converted to take advantage of rebates. Conversions cannot be financed on their own.

Help Our Veterans This Holiday Season!

Give Back to Veterans in Need This Holiday Season by Donating an Item on Veterans Inc.’s Holiday Wish List!

Donations are accepted 24/7 at our headquarters on 69 Grove Street in Worcester, MA.

Gift bags will be assembled using the donated items on Friday, December 19th and will be ready to be distributed to our veterans in time for Christmas.

Help Our Veterans This Holiday Season!

Massachusetts Gold Star Family Tree Dedication

Military Friends Foundation 501(C)3
Cordially Invites You To Join The
Massachusetts Gold Star Family Tree Dedication

on

December 16, 2014 (TODAY!!)
At 1:30pm
Memorial Hall
State House, Boston, MA

 Massachusetts Gold Star Family Tree Dedication

 Massachusetts Gold Star Families are invited to submit a photo of their loved one that will be displayed on the state’s Gold Star Families Tree on December 16th. Families are also invited to join at 12:30pm (prior to the 1:30pm dedication) to decorate a custom ornament. For more information and to submit a photograph, please visit www.militaryfriends.org/GoldStarTree

Benefits Of Owning A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

With adaptive technologies emerging each year, mobility vehicles have become more powerful than ever before. These handicap solutions have changed the lives of countless persons with disAbilities and helped alleviate some of the everyday challenges of just as many caregivers. If you’ve been considering the addition of a wheelchair accessible vehicle to your family, here are three ways in which owning a handicap van or car can empower you and transform your entire life.

Safety
Whether you’re a person with a disAbility, a dedicated caregiver or an able-bodied family member, safety is a universal concern and one of the main benefits of owning a vehicle designed for adaptive use. Besides power wheelchair lifts and transfer seating options, these vehicles are built to be used by persons with limited mobility, meaning they have been modified to be a secure transportation solution. Additionally, the high-quality equipment used in handicap van conversions reduces the risk of injury while getting in and out of the vehicle, as well as transferring from a wheelchair to a built-in seat. With wheelchair ties, in-floor ramps and alternative restraint options, a wheelchair accessible van can provide the added safety you need to feel confident on the road.

Freedom
For many people, owning a mobility vehicle means having the freedom to be able to go anywhere, any time. Often, persons with physical disAbilities are able to operate a handicap accessible car or van independently, without the need to have a caregiver help them in and out of the vehicle. Thanks to lifts, ramps and transfer seats, as well as hand controls and other conversion options, wheelchair vans have helped countless individuals regain their freedom after an injury or due to a medical condition, transforming their lives for the better.

Accessibility and Ease of Use
Automatic ramp systems, in-floor ramp technology, low-effort steering and many other adaptive conversion possibilities make operating mobility vehicles simple and convenient. This accessibility not only makes these vehicles easy to grow accustomed to, it also prevents injuries that can occur if the proper equipment is not utilized. Practicality and usability are two huge benefits of owning a wheelchair accessible vehicle, as they make getting from point A to point B a seamless and enjoyable process.

Ready to begin your search for the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle? Contact us or your local NMEDA dealer today to discuss the purchasing process and the best options for your needs.

Veteran Art Project

Veteran Art Project - Lt. Ricky Ryba

Veteran Art Project

Wars end, soldiers return. Uniforms are folded and pictures placed on the mantle. And though new lives begin, veterans carry their service with them long after they return home.

For many, reintegration is coming to terms with those two halves: the veteran and the civilian made anew.

That bifurcated existence is the basis for the Veteran Art Project, a captivating visual experiment by a 27-year-old photographer who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate.

The idea is simple enough: Devin Mitchell, a junior at Arizona State University, finds a room, a mirror and a subject, and then takes two pictures. One is a picture of the subject in uniform, the other in civilian attire. Afterward, Mitchell uses Photoshop to combine the two.

The first photo, which was taken this past August, shows a man staring into his bathroom mirror and adjusting his suit. Staring back is the same man, Lt. Ricky Ryba, in blue Navy fatigues. The resulting image transcends time and place.

The photos are published on Instagram for ease of access. Mitchell calls his work “artistic journalism,” and notes that the only prerequisites for his subjects are that they are veterans and that they can still fit into their uniforms.

“I don’t interview them, all I ask is if they’re veteran and if I can come and take their picture,” Mitchell said. “This is an opportunity for people to speak without having to say something.”

Initially, Mitchell had a difficult time finding people interested in being photographed, but after picture 13, he says, his inbox was flooded.