Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Help Our Military Heroes

On June 29, Chaz and I got to be apart of Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH) 9th award presentation of a fully handicapped accessible van to our friends, Scott, Laura and Zach. Monday, July 18, our family will be #10.

Captain Tammy Phipps is the WRAMCs driving instructor. She helps the soldiers revise their driving skills so they can get back out on the road. She also helps HOMH find possible candidates for these fully handicapped vans. Laurie, Ted and Marybeth (the chairs of HOMH) meet with the candidates to see if HOMH can help them obtain their goals. Once they find out they can, HOMH teams up with Rideaway, a company that takes vehicles and alters them to the disabled persons needs. Maureen Pepe is our incredible rep who feels like family. And thanks to the collaboration of these amazing people life becomes so much easier for our heroes at WRAMC and they get fully handicapped accessible vans.

The VA awards amputees vehicle grants to purchase or adapt a vehicle so they can get around a lot more easily. HOMH raises money to offset the cost difference and awards FREE vans to help our heroes get on with their new normal. HOMH had one fundraiser last year and thanks to their team effort with the VA and Rideaway they are about to award van #10 for the year. Rideaway obtains Dodge Caravans and then alters them to the vets needs. The vans are absolutely incredible.

This team effort makes it so easy you only have to submit some paperwork and sign and drive. They get the vans from Dodge, take care of the VA, the vehicle registration, all of it. They want to help our family just move on and they make it as easy for us as possible. You have no idea what a relief and comfort HOMH and Rideaway are until you are in this situation. These vans are a key piece to helping these soldiers move on with their lives. We, the average American, take getting in the car and driving for granted. Chaz has one good arm and he can transfer very well right now but some days are harder than others. But thanks to these amazing people, I press a button a door opens and a ramp comes down. We push Chaz in, he gets buckled and tethered down and off we go. Our van that we receive on Monday will be equipped with hand controls and Chaz will be able to drive it. Watch out he may be headed to a town near you soon!

We can never thank HOMH, Capt Phipps and Rideaway enough for everything they have done for our family. They are helping our family along the road to our new normal. I know none of them do it for the praise or the thanks, but they sure as heck deserve it. We are so blessed to have them all apart of Team Allen. We are blessed to be the tenth van awarded this year. As of Monday we will officially be apart of the HOMH family, but seems like they've been apart of our team and family for such a long time.

Tammy, Laurie, Ted, Marybeth and Maureen, 
Thank you a gazillion times for everything you have done! I know you aren't looking for praise, but you deserve it and so much more. God has a special place in heaven for you all! We look forward to watching you award hundreds of more vans as time passes. God Bless you all.

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