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Jan 27, 2012

Hundreds receive free wheelchairs from Rotary Clubs of Belize and New Mexico

The local Rotary Club was the lucky recipient of a much needed donation of wheelchairs this morning. The Club started its wheelchair project some four to five years ago and, to date, including this latest donation, the organization has distributed two thousand wheelchairs.  According to Rotary Club President Francis Woods, while this supply of locally assembled wheelchairs is considerably different from those that were previously imported, there are a number of benefits that come along with the alteration.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco was on hand for the donation and has the following report.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Over five hundred deserving recipients will benefit from a partnership of the Rotary Club of Belize and the Clovis Rotary Club of New Mexico. The two organizations have shipped, assembled and initiated the distribution of five hundred and fifty wheelchairs to needy paraplegics. But, those efforts were made possible through the kindness of citizens in New Mexico.

Tammy Garner

Tammy Garner, President, Clovis Rotary Club

“Ya’ll were smart enough to get involved and our district chose not to, so for three years my club can’t work with your club and get matching funds so we decided to raise the thirty-two thousand another way. And obviously that was done, through many friends, family; we had students asking for money. I went and spoke to several groups asking for money and for one group I was very excited hoping they would bring me a whole lot of money and they brought me enough for one chair fifty-nine dollar and seventy one cents enough for one chair. I went wow, and then [sorry, as that represents one of these chairs, but I was really think we’d have a little bit more] and then I went on to another group and I thought they wouldn’t be able to give us any money and I was okay with that, because I knew God had a bigger plan and that was one of the biggest givings that I got. So I spoke to several groups and as I look out cross at these chairs, it represents every penny that was donated.”

Grace Fairweather

And that donation of over thirty thousand dollars was used to purchase the wheelchairs, which are now being distributed to Rotary Clubs in each district. Grace Fairweather of the Rotary Club in Dangriga says the donation is much appreciated.

Grace Fairweather, Rotary Club of Belize, Dangriga

“We received twenty-five wheelchairs and five is going to the Southern Regional Hospital and the others are for individuals. And these people are so happy to have it because they’ve been asking us you know.”

Andrea Polanco

“How do you select these individuals who are going to receive the wheelchair?”

Grace Fairweather

“They came to us and ask and we wrote down their name and everybody who asked for one we put down their name and we just send the name up and they got it.”

Francis Woods, President of the Rotary Club of Belize, says that these wheelchairs, while different in structure from the folding ones, have a number of advantages:

Francis Woods

Francis Woods, President, Rotary Club of Belize

“This is a very rugged wheelchair; it is a very comfortable wheelchair. If you have every had to sit in a wheelchair and it was one of the folding ones you will notice that after about two to three hours that it will start to sink on you and it gets a little uncomfortable and you have to get inventive and put it little pillows and sponges to support you. This chair, the plastic chair, a typical garden chair has been modified and I’m sure millions have gone into the design of that chair to sit you comfortably for a long period of time; not only is it comfortable but it’s plastic so its easily cleaned. Folks can take this straight to the bathroom, shower and get right back in it and it won’t hurt it at all. Because it doesn’t fold, it has a very sturdy frame and the wider tires help it to go over rougher surfaces; it is a smooth riding wheelchair.”

Woods says that while two hundred wheelchairs are ready to be used, three hundred are yet to be assembled; however, a sizeable inventory of spare parts is available should repairs be necessary. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

If you or someone you know is need of a wheelchair, you can call 222-4369.

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3 Responses for “Hundreds receive free wheelchairs from Rotary Clubs of Belize and New Mexico”

  1. narrow-minded people says:

    good work .. keep it up

  2. barney says:

    Thanks Mrs. Garner, and the contributors for giving too the elderly, God bless ya”ll.

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    That’s what i am talking about Belize.Let’s prove to the world that there are still patriatic people living in the Jewel.

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