Local group spins the wheels for veterans with disabilities | News, Sports, Jobs
how to help
Anyone wishing to donate a wheelchair, scooter or walker can contact DAV Chapter 2 at 330-774-8479. Members will take care of it. Any veteran in need of one of the devices can call the same number to make a request.
Donation checks can be mailed to Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2, 4496 Mahoning Ave., Austintown, Ohio 44515.
AUSTINTOWN – Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2 sees an increase in local veterans who need a set of wheels to get around.
DAV is trying to scale up its program to provide wheelchairs, power chairs, scooters and walkers to veterans in need.
“Since Thanksgiving, we’ve given away 20 wheelchairs and scooters,” DAV program president Bob Cooper said. “This program has existed for many years in our chapter, but not at the level we have now.”
The program starts when a veteran contacts DAV Chapter 2 and requests a wheelchair or scooter. If there is one available, some members deliver the unit after it has been checked and cleaned.
Wheelchairs and scooters come from donations. Cooper said he’s always looking for a donation because it’s hard to tell a disabled veteran that no wheelchair is available.
A recent electric wheelchair was donated by a member of DAV Chapter 2 who had just passed away. This veteran suffered from cerebral palsy and owned an electric chair that could be controlled from a joystick on the arm of the chair. When the Chapter 2 members took possession of the chair, there was already a veteran requesting a chair and it was delivered over the weekend. Previously, a standard wheelchair had been delivered to a double amputee veteran.
Sometimes the program has to shell out a few dollars to replace a battery.
“Batteries cost around $100, so we need cash donations as well,” said Chapter 2 member Don White.
The program only supports wheelchairs, scooters and walkers that help veterans get around. Cooper said they didn’t accept medical beds, but they did get a lift chair that went to a veteran’s mother.
“The veteran was taking care of his mother, but had trouble lifting her,” Cooper said. “He just couldn’t lift her anymore, so we gave him the lift chair to help him continue to care for his mum.”
Anyone wishing to donate a wheelchair, scooter or walker can contact DAV Chapter 2 at 330-774-8479. Cooper said the members would pick it up. Any veteran in need of one of the devices can call the same number to make a request.
Although the wheelchair program is an important program for members, it is not the only thing the local does.
“DAV Chapter 2 turns 101 this year,” Cooper said. “The first DAV chapter was launched in Cincinnati in 1920.”
Locally, there are 400 registered members, but only about thirty are active. This small group helps with the wheelchair program and with food for veterans in need in the Mahoning Valley. On Thursday, he picked up 17 senior boxes and more than 40 bags of food for delivery.
Another activity is the chapter’s honor guard that participates in veterans’ funerals.
“We’ve attended 19 funerals so far this year,” Cooper said. “We usually attend veterans’ funerals at the Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.”
A final task assigned to DAV Chapter 2 members is the annual flag removal. They perform the proper ceremony which removes the American flags with honor. Due to the pandemic, the flag removal did not occur and Cooper said many flags will be removed this year.
The retirement of the flag is done by burning them in a ceremony, and this year Chapter 2 will perform the ceremony on May 28 – time to be determined – at the Handyman Hardware store on South Raccoon and Kirk roads.
“We’ll have Boy Scouts help and the Austintown Fire Department will be there,” Cooper said.
He praised Handyman Hardware for supporting veterans’ causes.
As for donating funds to the wheelchair cause, Cooper said checks can be mailed to Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2, 4496 Mahoning Ave., Austintown, Ohio, 44515.