“People with developmental disabilities need to have access to the community,” said Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen. “They like to go to a variety of places and this vehicle makes that happen.”
“This vehicle is an opportunity for them [Hattie Larlham residents] to experience things, get out and be active,” said MobilityWorks President and CEO Bill Koeblitz. “I just can’t say enough about Hattie Larlham and the wonderful work they do. MobilityWorks is so proud to be a part of this project.”
The project started in March 2014 when Put-in-Bay Entertainers and The MobilityWorks Foundation hosted a fundraiser for Hattie Larlham. The event raised more than $15,000, which purchased the van’s special flooring, seating, wheelchair securement systems and a wheelchair lift. Pete Kepich and Kepich Ford, a family-owned dealership in Garrettsville, Ohio, subsidized the van’s cost with a generous donation.
“It’s amazing the people that you can pull together to help other people,” said Owner Pete Kepich. “To give back is very important, especially in today’s world, and these folks need our help.”
Working with Kepich Ford and AMF Bruns of America, MobilityWorks in Akron launched the plan to up-fit the van for Hattie Larlham. MobilityWorks is the largest wheelchair-accessible van dealer in the US that provides mobility solutions.
MobilityWorks installed a SmartFloor system into the bed of the van. This allows users to reconfigure the seating arrangement. MobilityWorks also built a FutureSafe backrest that connects into the van’s floor to secure wheelchairs.
“Our mission is to help people with physical challenges,” said MobilityWorks CFO Gerhard Schmidt. “We realized this van is a very effective way we can impact many lives. Hattie Larlham is one of the first recipients of this brand new vehicle.”
Dignitaries in attendance included Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen, MobilityWorks President and CEO and MobilityWorks Foundation Chairman Bill Koeblitz, Owner of Kepich Ford Pete Kepich, Assistant to the Mayor of Akron for Community Relations Bill Soule, and Mike Sweeney and Mike “Mad Dog” Adams from Put-in-Bay Entertainers.
Thanks to the generosity of all of these organizations, Hattie Larlham can further its mission of delivering comfort, joy and achievement to people with developmental disabilities.
About Hattie Larlham
Established in 1961, Hattie Larlham is a non-profit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Hattie Larlham inspires people with disabilities and their families to dream and achieve through the medical, residential, work training and recreational services the organization offers. For more information, visit www.hattielarlham.org.
The MobilityWorks Foundation is an Akron-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial assistance, vehicles and or equipment to selected individuals requiring adaptive vehicles or driving aids. 50% of individuals looking to purchase adaptive transportation lack financial assistance. The foundation's goal is to make the world accessible for physically challenged individuals and families. Its funding comes from direct donations, fund-raising, sponsorships and grants. For more information, visit http://www.themobilityworksfoundation.org.
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