Burns Lake native Jeff Scott received a free Dodge Grand Caravan outfitted with adapted driving and wheelchair equipment

Limited mobility, but not limited in life

Burns Lake native Jeff Scott received a free Dodge Grand Caravan outfitted with adapted driving and wheelchair equipment.

On Thursday, it was Christmas come early for Jeff Scott as he took hold of the keys to a gleaming Dodge Grand Caravan. The vehicle was even draped in a big red bow.

The 28-year-old Victoria man is getting back on the road, a new inflection point on a journey from a devastating trauma to a hectic life of school, running a charitable foundation and playing wheelchair rugby.

“It’s surreal that it’s mine,” Scott said. “The reliability and freedom of this van is unbelievable. It’s unlike anything I have imagined.”

Scott was one of three winners of a free 2013 Dodge van outfitted with $40,000 in wheelchair accessibility equipment and adaptive driving technology. An essay contest organized by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) saw some 1,225 entries whittled down to three through a process of online voting and a panel of judges. The other two winners are in the U.S.

Friends and family from across B.C. – parents Connie and Steve Scott from Burns Lake and sister Lindsay Giricke from Bella Coola – and industry officials from the U.S. crowded into the Shoppers Home Health Care store on Hillside Avenue Thursday to present Scott the van.

“When you’re in a wheelchair you can’t run to the store for groceries. It makes everything more difficult from catching a bus to catching a cab. You rely on other people to help you. It’s frustrating at times,” Scott told the crowd. “The van represents … that feeling of freedom, to go where you want when you want. Now I can offer (rides) to friends.”

Shoppers Home Health Care co-ordinated a continent-wide effort to rebuild the van for Scott’s mobility limitations as a quadriplegic with partial arm and hand movement. Chrysler donated the van, BraunAbility installed the wheelchair ramp, hydraulic kneeling system and a driver’s chair that rotates and moves up and down.

Shoppers installed the adaptive driving, which allows Scott to control the brake and acceleration with a hand control. The entire steering column was rebuilt in Toronto and New Jersey to reduce pressure needed to turn the steering wheel.

“It’s pretty awesome. Everything is donated,” said Dave Hubbard, CEO of NMEDA and who travelled from Florida for the event. “(The van) is extremely well outfitted. The manufacturers understand the need and the value.”

Lloyd Updike, with BraunAbility, came in from Nebraska. “If it improves your life, we win,” he told Scott.

Scott moved to Victoria two years ago to play wheelchair rugby, mainly at Pearkes arena, and to study for a degree in emergency management. Not content with that, he is also the director of the Live It! Love It! Foundation, which he founded with former girlfriend Izzy Lynch.

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Skeena First Nations push for full closure of recreational fishery

Eight First Nations on the Skeena River watershed say DFO’s chinook restrictions isn’t enough

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Family reunion almost 50 years in the making

Adopted Norwegian man finds his biological mother in Endako.

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read