Salem VA Medical Center receives wheelchair donation

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - The Salem VA Medical Center received an impactful donation Monday afternoon that will aid transportation and care.

“It’s very substantial,” says Cheryl Ponce with the Salem VA Medical Center.

Monday afternoon, 90 wheelchairs were donated to the Salem Veterans Medical Center by the Salem Knights of Columbus.

“We actually have a great need for wheelchairs,” explains Ponce. “We try to keep a large amount on board since we have an escort service which we do take patients at the front door and escort them to their facility that they need to go to.”

Wheelchairs are $150 a piece, and the Salem Council Knights of Columbus raised more than $16,000 in a matter of months to purchase the wheelchairs. The mission was personal for veteran David Wyble, Salem Council Knights of Columbus Grand Knight.

“11 years ago I was the recipient of a heart transplant. Prior to that I was temporarily in a wheelchair; then I went into a motorized wheelchair.”

With community support, the Salem and state chapters purchased nearly 300 wheelchairs to help folks all over the state.

“This is a huge undertaking and to collect the level of funds that needed to be collected in that short amount of time took a lot of work,” adds Patrick Rowland, State Deputy VA Knights of Columbus.

It’s hard work that officials say will pay off. Those with the VA say the new chairs will provide a safer, more efficient way to transport veterans, giving back a small fraction of the freedom they protect.

“It’s very important for the individual because they can use the mobility and get around to where they want to go,” notes Wyble.

This is the first donation of its kind to be made by the Salem Knights of Columbus to the medical center.

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