Category Archives: Wheelchair Accessible Van

Industry’s First Chrysler Pacifica Wheelchair Accessible Minivan

VMI Introduces Industry’s First Chrysler Pacifica Wheelchair Accessible Minivan

 

VMI 2016 Pacifica
Vantage Mobility International (VMI) recently unveiled the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica wheelchair accessible van conversion at the Dealer Council Executive Committee in Chicago, IL. In addition to exclusive guests from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), VMI’s dealer council and the VMI’s new spokesperson, TEAM USA wheelchair rugby player and Paralympian, Joe Delagrave, many dealers from around the country attended.
The all-new Chrysler Pacifica has been big news in the auto industry, and VMI wanted to be part of its success by being the first mobility conversion company to bring the wheelchair accessible version to market. The new conversion will begin full production the first week of September, with dealership around the country receiving their first shipments in October. Production will be limited at first, as inventories are built, so most dealers will only receive a small number in 2016.

VMI 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
The new design from VMI will feature a power side-entry in-floor 30 inch wide, 800 lbs. capacity ramp, industry first interchangeable front seats, and a new third row footrest that increases the interior floor space by 2 additional inches. When coupled with the Pacifica’s 100 safety and security features, the VMI Pacifica wheelchair accessible conversion will surely be one of the top choices for consumers.

VMI Northstar Access360™ Features Include:

• A larger in-floor ramp that conveniently stows under the floor, creating more room for wheelchair maneuverability
• An obstruction-free doorway that allows able-bodied passengers to enter and exit the vehicle without deploying the ramp
• A full 30″ wide ramp with 800lb capacity accommodates large power chairs

They’re Handicap Parking Violators Too!

We’ve all seen them, the handicap parking violators that seem to take up all the handicap parking spaces just when someone who really needs one drives about. We’ll today, I saw something that took this problem a step further, and quite frankly made me even angrier than seeing some regular-Joe park in a space illegally.

It was the other morning, when I stopped off at a local gas station to get my morning (Kickstart), I happened to notice a vehicle as I walked to the front door. First, because it was a handicap accessible vehicle, a medical transport vehicle in fact, so I took a glance. Second, it was actually parked in the designated handicap parking space instead of some other “Yahoo” taking up the spot. So, my Initial thought, it looked like a win/win! Until I happened to take a closer look… Yep, to my surprise, there was no specialized license plate, no rear-view mirror placard, and no disabled passenger. Only the driver, sitting there consuming her breakfast.

It was to my disbelief that this person, whose job is to assist the physically disabled, had in-fact purposely parked in the only handicap accessible parking space, even when they didn’t have any passengers. To me, a person of industry, this was a blatant slap in the face! It’s not like this isn’t a hot topic that anyone in the industry isn’t aware of. In fact, being a driver of medical transport, I’m sure more than once, they have gotten angry themselves that someone was parked in a handicap space illegally while they were trying to drop off one of their passengers. Yet, here is this person abusing the system and right.

I couldn’t help, but to keep thinking about this as I made my beverage. “What should I do? Should I confront them? Should I make my point and cause a scene, or should I remain calm and expose this issue on a much bigger platform?” I chose the latter… Mainly because they were leaving at the time I exited the building, but I also figured polite confrontation would not get me anywhere except more upset and who knows how they would react; best to take the high road.

So, here I am, sharing my story to further expose the problem of handicap parking violators, and the abuse that obviously exists by some of those in the industry. Note: I said SOME of them, not all of them. I want to go on record that the majority of those in the industry do respect this area and are not part of the problem. In fact, they are champions of the issue. Also, keep in mind there isn’t any one single gender, socioeconomic status, age, or ethnicity that can be used to profile a violator. They might be your neighbor, sibling, or spouse. Only through continued exposure of the problem and tougher penalties, can we can make a difference. Do the right thing… help the cause where you can, but DO NOT take matters into your own hands, and while hard to do, turn the other way and report it appropriately if able.  Confrontation is not worth it…

May is National Mobility Awareness Month

MOBILITY_AWARENESS_LOGOGet your Video Submissions Ready!

Superior Van & Mobility is once again excited to announce that it is time for, National Mobility Awareness Month (NMAM), presented by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). This is your chance to win a brand new wheelchair van!

This year, NMEDA will be giving away three brand new wheelchair accessible minivans to three deserving individuals based on their stories and acquired votes (no purchase necessary). One van will be given away in each of the following three categories: Senior, Caregiver, and General.

The video entry submission period begins, April 12, 2016, so the sooner you enter the better the chance you have to rack up the votes. Voting period is May 3rd – 31st, and the winners will be announced June 17, 2016.

This is your chance to present your inspirational stories of perseverance, overcoming challenges, accomplishment, community involvement, or how you go above and beyond to take care of others with disabilities. If you are one of these exceptional, “Local Hero’s”, or know of someone who is, NMEDA wants to hear from you!

Who Can Submit Entries

The contest is open to everyone; the medical community; business professionals; caregivers; family members; friends; and those individuals themselves with physical challenges. Anyone can recommend a, “Local Hero” by submitting a video entry that not only tells their story, but demonstrates why they feel they deserve to win one of the three mobility vans.

How to get Votes

Voting is the most important aspect of this contest, and it is imperative to win. There are numerous ways to gain votes, and I’ve outlined a few of them below to help get you started.

Best Practices for Self-Promotion

1. Post your plea for support/votes with a direct link to your voting page on all of your social media accounts. Be sure you don’t forget to ask your friends and family to also share your post on their accounts as well. This will quickly get your story out to the masses for huge voter turnout. Try to also remember to use the hashtag #NMAM16 in your posts.

2. Contact your local new media outlets (TV stations, newspapers, radio stations, etc.) with the contest information and your personal story. The goal is to get your community behind you to further increase the probably of votes.

3. Think outside the box! Interact with the community. Maybe make a sign, and attend large community events to promote not only your need for votes, but the contest itself. Idea: Have small cards that you can hand out with brief bio/contest summary and the link to your story and voting page. Think like a politician! Go out and ask for votes! Shake hands, and interact. This is the perfect time of the year to ride off the coat tails of the election atmosphere. Just an idea…

4. Last tip… Contact your local mobility dealer in your area. If unsure who that might be, visit NMEDA.com, and use their dealer locator. You can also view a list of our nine locations, to see if we are your local dealer, by visiting our location page at superiorvan.com.

Once you get your local dealer contact, call them and ask for their exclusive dealer code for your entry into the NMEDA contest. Then ask them for a, “Quality Needs Assessment”. By having them perform one, you get an extra 1000 BONUS VOTES. This is a simple form that the dealer fills out, based off your information and mobility needs. Once complete, this form is then faxed to NMEDA, and the points will be added to your account within a few days. Pretty easy huh?!

Well that’s enough for now… I better stop giving up all this valuable information so others will have a chance to win too, or before I tell you that one last thing it takes to win. Ha! Kidding… You are already way ahead of most if you read this entire blog. I highly doubt there are many other sites out there that have provided their readers with as much information and promotional ideas that I provided. See… I’m just a nice guy!

Soooo… go forth and promote! Get creative, and get out there! It will be hard to win if you and others don’t promote your story to everyone you know, and even don’t know. As you can see, there are many creative ideas to be had to self-promote. Just make sure HOW, and WHAT you do to get your votes is safe and legal.  Wink!

For More Information

If you still would like more information, which I’m sure you do… be sure to click on the following links:

NMEDA.com

mobilityawarenessmonth.com

Good Luck!

 

New Superior logo with tag line

Purchasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle? What You Need to Know…

Today, there are more choices than ever when it comes to the types

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

of vehicles being converted into wheelchair accessible transportation. Because of this, buyers now more than ever are able to fulfill their personal desires through vast amenities, size options, and vehicle functionality. The days where minivans were all one could choose have past; buyers can now select from various pickup trucks and SUVs. However, it’s also because of this new opportunity things can get a little overwhelming and cause many buyers to lose sight of their basic, situational needs.

This is where it becomes important to make sure you work with a mobility consultant; someone well versed in various vehicle types, to ensure your personal needs are not overlooked, or sacrificed for a personal want. A mobility consultant will help you stay focused by assessing your exact needs, budget, and personal desires. Together they will use this information to ultimately recommend the type of vehicle to best suit your CURRENT and FUTURE situation.

So, where should you start ?

First, start with the most important step, and that is to get in touch with a mobility consultant for an assessment. Here is where you will not only be addressing your wants, but your needs. You will be measured, if necessary, to help in assessing your current situation. Future needs will also be assessed. I cannot stress enough the importance of this step!

After your assessment, you and your mobility consultant will have discussed your best options. These recommendations will be based, first and foremost, on your personal needs and necessary fit. You may receive a recommendation involving several vehicle types, or you may get only one. Keep in mind, your functionality, comfort and safety should always come first. Be sure you look past any wants that may struggle to accommodate your personal needs. With mobility vehicles, it’s a bad idea to shop for a vehicle based solely on looks and wants. It is important that you DO NOT struggle to fit, or operate a vehicle, no matter how your think you look driving!

Next, do your research –

Your mobility consultant will be able to provide to you information to evaluate any vehicles recommended. You may also find additional information on the company’s website, manufacturer’s website, or Internet (be careful that you utilize reliable sources). As you can imagine, there is a lot of bad, or incorrect information out there as well. Also, be wary of any company who tends to only sell their products over the internet. There have been many stories that didn’t end well. Most of which resulting from a buyer unable to try the vehicle before they buy, or a vehicle requiring service with no service facility nearby. Which takes me to my next point…

Review a dealer’s total offering and look, or request testimonials –

Be sure when you are ready to purchase, you do so from a reputable dealer, and one that is a member of NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) and is part of their QAP (Quality Assurance Program). Learn more about QAP and NMEDA here.

Look for a dealer that provides great service, both before and after the sale. Remember, a good dealer will be sure they address your immediate and future needs with your purchase, and provide a compassionate, understanding and caring environment.

Check out their service department and ask questions. How long have their technicians worked on mobility vans? Do they use factory parts? Do they offer 24/7 emergency service in their service area? (Nothing could be worse than getting stranded with a mechanical failure at 2 AM on the side of the road with no one to help, or the knowledge to assess and repair your problem).

These are all great questions to ask, and ask as many as you can think of until you feel comfortable, and by all means, review any company testimonials. If you cannot find any online, ask your dealer for some. Most, if not all, should have plenty of customer testimonials to provide and they will help you evaluate the past experience of other buyers.

Lastly, protect your vehicle against costly repairs –

While this is an option and 100% voluntary, be sure you assess your needs and options with your mobility consultant in protecting your vehicle mechanically from any costly, future complications and expenses that may arise.

With wheelchair accessible vehicles, buyers generally keep them longer than most, and it is inherently more important that the vehicle performs properly every time it is needed. However, mechanical failures can arise, and some can be costly due to the nature of the mechanics involved in design. Before you sign and take delivery of your vehicle, be sure you fully understand any service plans your dealer may offer to protect your vehicle against costly mechanical failures that may arise outside the manufactures warranty period (if any). To help in determining if a protection plan is for you, a dealer should be able to provide to you a list of various repair types and the costs incurred without protection.

ADA Celebrates 25 Years – Still a Long Way to Go…

July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); a law that paved the way for equal rights and treatment for millions of Americans with disabilities.

ADA 25 Year Anniversary

ADA 25 Year Anniversary

It’s now 25 years later, and yes, a lot has improved; curbs have been reduced and ramps have been built. You’ll even find Braille on  signage and wheelchair lifts on city buses among the thousands of other improvements that have taken place as a result of the ADA. However, as many of the 38 million Americans with a disability can tell you, there is still a long way to go. Not only among the governing bodies of the United States, but among the public and private sector.

Many of the complaints still coming in from disabled Americans continue to revolve around lack of amenities, or amenities that just don’t function. Take for example a hotel chain with accessible rooms. Many of these rooms have what they call a roll-in shower and if you are lucky bars next to the toilet, but what many are still lacking are beds that sit lower to the floor. It’s still to this day far to common to see a business try to be compliant, but fail to wholly deliver, and airlines are not any better.

Don’t even get me started on all the stories circulating around the Internet regarding the experiences disabled travelers have experienced; from blatant disregard of their well-being to  downright humiliation. There are far too many…

As we look forward to celebrating this monumental occasion, we still have come a long way none-the-less.  An American with a disability is far better-off today than prior to the ADA, and things are only to improve as more and more advocates get involved to bring to light the shortcomings of the public and private sector.

If you would like to learn more about the ADA, please visit: http://www.ada.gov/ada_25th_anniversary/

 

Would You Like to Win a NEW Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month

Of course you would, and here’s your chance! May is National Mobility Awareness Month sponsored by, National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). It’s the 4th year for their campaign that is designed to raise awareness of the many life-changing vehicle solutions available to those 18 million Americans with mobility issues. This year NMEDA will be giving away four wheelchair accessible vehicles to well deserved local heroes in the following categories: one to a caregiver, one to a senior (60+), one battery powered for in-town driving only, and one general use. (no purchase necessary)

So, you may ask, “How Do I Enter?”

Here are the particulars…

LOCAL HEROES: A Local Hero can be defined as anyone in your community, whether a caregiver, or a person with a disability who has persevered through the obstacles of living with a disability and strives to lead an active, mobile lifestyle. We are looking for
inspirational stories of how they overcome challenges and are triumphing, whether it be through volunteering, advocating, educating, persevering or achieving.

ENTRIES: People must send NMEDA their stories online at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com.  Local Heroes, caregivers, and loved ones may submit a video OR an online story with photo.

• Video entries must not exceed two minutes and be no larger than 50 MB.
• Written entries must not exceed 400 words and must be accompanied by a photo of the Local Hero, preferably in a wheelchair, that is no larger than 5 MB.

VOTING: Spread the word! People may log in with their Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or directly through  MobilityAwarenessMonth.com to vote daily from May 1–May 31, 2015.  You will need a dealer code to enter. You can contact any one of Superior Van & Mobility’s nine locations for the code. One vote will be accepted every 24-hours per email address. At the time of voting, visitors will be asked a different question regarding mobility options and the promotion. If the question is answered correctly, the Local Hero will receive two votes. If the question is answered incorrectly, the Local Hero will receive one vote and the correct answer will be displayed.

Earn 1000 Bonus Votes!

Want to earn 1000 bonus votes? It’s easy, just visit any one of our nine locations during the voting period for a FREE needs assessment and the bonus votes will be posted to your entry within a few days.

Winners will be announced June 18, 2015, and wheelchair accessible vehicles will be delivered between July and Sept.2015.

Good luck!

A Special Thanks to Superior Van & Mobility and The Ralph Braun Foundation

After receiving a grant from The Braun Foundation, John Sass at the South Bend location of Superior Van & Mobility went above and beyond to assist Zachary and his family in selecting the perfect wheelchair accessible minivan. Now more than ever, Zachary has the ability to venture out into his community; a piece of independence that many of us take for granted. The following is a heartfelt expression of their gratitude:

zachary

Wow! Thank you to The Ralph Braun Foundation. Without this grant we would not have been able to purchase this mobility van to enhance our son’s life and the people he has touched and also the people he will touch in and around our community. Thank you Ralph Braun for developing this mobility device that has provided people throughout this great world we all live in to feel a part of today and in the future. It is really great that you continue to touch lives with the Foundation that you left behind. We really appreciate your Foundation for the generosity from the bottom of our hearts. We will never forget the impact your Foundation gave our family. I truly believe your Foundation will continue to touch people throughout the world just like it was meant to be in your planning before your passing. Again thank you and the Foundation for this grant.

We would also like to thank, John Sass from the South Bend Superior Van and Mobility location for going above and beyond to find that perfect vehicle fit for our sons special needs and all his patience for making this purchase possible for us. We are forever grateful for all his help in this process. You’re the best John!!!!

Sincerely from the bottom of all our hearts,

Neil, Ellen & Zachary

SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A STANDING WHEELCHAIR?

With so many reports surfacing that claim too much sitting is bad for you, there has been a significant rise in the sales of standing desks. To that same point, there are also some disabled individuals that are starting to consider standing wheelchairs.

This may seem counter-productive to some, but there is a surprising amount of research that supports the use of what is known as “passive standing.”

In fact, a recent paper released by the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology of North America (RESNA has indicated that they strongly believe that people confined to wheelchairs can benefit in many ways from routine passive standing. These benefits include, but aren’t limited to:

• Improvements in circulation
• Improvements in passive range motion
• Reduction of skeletal deformities and pressure sores
• Maintaining vital organ capacity
• Maintaining bone mineral density
• Allowing users to reach items they could not while sitting

On top of it all is the obvious freedom of not being forced to sit all day. There is a degree of independence and self-reliance that comes from a standing wheelchair that, sadly, many people with disabilities miss out on.

A standing wheelchair can quite literally out disabled people back on their feet safely and easily. It offers the convenience and mobility of standard wheelchairs while also adding the extra freedom to get out of the rigid sitting position they are accustomed to.

Of course, certain disabilities may not allow or warrant the advantages a standing wheelchair might offer. If you have questions about obtaining a standing wheelchair or wonder if you could benefit from one, you should ask your doctor.

On another note, if you choose one of the standing models and have a wheelchair accessible vehicle, beware. Many of the standing models are much larger and heavier, and may not be compatible with your current vehicles design or setup. Be sure to double check with your vehicle’s manufacturer or local mobility dealer to ensure your new chair is compatible.

Prayers Are Answered When You Least Expect

I wanted to pass along a heartwarming story from Knoxville, TN. This story will not only bring a tear to your eye, but hopefully restore your faith in humanity.

The story begins with a Veteran who has ALS; a family man with many talents, who loved his family and grandchildren more than life itself. He was a man who enjoyed spending time with his family, often taking them boating in a boat he hand made, and flying in an airplane built with his own two hands. Talented indeed, he was a man who lived a wonderful and fulfilling life.

Just prior to his passing, our Veteran had a wish. He conveyed to his family how he wanted to help another in need. As a man with a special place in his heart for children with special needs, he decided that he wanted to donate his wheelchair accessible van to a family in need; a family that couldn’t afford such a luxury, but one who certainly deserving and was in great need.

As he passed, his family was determined to fulfill his dying wish. Not knowing where to start, his daughter, Tara Dovenbarger contacted our Superior Van & Mobility location in Knoxville , TN, and the East Tennessee Technology Access Center in hopes they could assist in finding a deserving family in need.

After careful thought, a family was selected, the Rubio’s of Knoxville, TN. This was a family that had been trying since their son was one to get a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Unable to afford such an expense, they had tried everything in their power, from saving money, entering contests, and prayer, but nothing ever seemed to pan out. For fifteen years this process went on, they never gave up. Nancy Rubio explains, “It was all in God’s hands. His timing and how he brought this amazing gift to us shows how God’s plan has to play out how he sees it. Sometimes you have to wait until it unfolds.”

The Rubio’s took delivery of their van on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. It was a gift of a lifetime from a family they never knew. It was a day to remember, as one family mourned the loss of a great man, the other experienced a day of joy and answered prayer. This was a gift that changed many lives, on both sides, by opening up new opportunities for one family and closing a chapter and fulfilling a dying wish for another. “Having this van means the sky is the limit, we can now go to church together as a family and take trips to the park,” said Nancy.

All of this would have never been made possible, if not for one man and his dying wish. Our Veteran, a man who served his country with pride, loved not only his children, but all children, and who lived to make his family his life. For this, we will always remember our Veteran and his family, and we hope this story will continue to inspire others who may have the same opportunities and desires to help others.

Click the link below for the actual news article on this extraordinary event: http://www.local8now.com/home/headlines/Prayers-answered-for-family-with-wheelchair-bound-son-273042561.html

Pennzoil, BraunAbility and PVA Provide Veterans the Gift of Mobility

Daily, thousands of Americans put their lives on the line serving in the military for our freedom. This past Memorial Day, we remembered those whose lives were lost and reminded ourselves that for many returning home, a new battle begins. In an effort to assist those who have sustained a paralyzing injury while active, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), BraunAbility, and Pennzoil® teamed up to retrofit three vehicles in an effort to give back the gift of mobility to paralyzed veterans.

Pennzoil Lovethecarbusiness campaign

Hank Ebert retired Navy veteran receiving a wheelchair accessible vehicle from BraunAbility and Pennzoil

Hank Ebert, was one of those veterans who received a retrofitted BraunAbility Toyota Sienna minivan, featuring the latest technology in assisting paralyzed drivers, as part of Pennzoil’s “Love Your Car” program, a partnership they created with the PVA. Hank was a U.S. Navy veteran, and served four years in the Navy as a crewman on a rescue helicopter in Vietnam. Today, despite his injury, Ed stays active as he participates in the Veteran’s Wheelchair games, is a fishing guide, and an die hard drag racing fan. Ed was lucky enough to have been nominated by his local PVA chapter in Minnesota to receive the custom vehicle, and as you can see from the video, he was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“I’m incredibly excited. It hasn’t even sunk in yet how excited I am,” said U.S. Navy veteran, Hank Ebert. “From winning this vehicle, to being flown to Charlotte to see my first NASCAR race, to being here with all my friends to celebrate, it’s just awesome.”

Today, there are more than 44,000 American veterans living with paralysis and the effects of rising healthcare costs. These are veterans, who have been here for us, and are now in a great need of support. Which has led to the mission of the PVA’s “ABLE” campaign, which was developed to help the nation’s paralyzed veterans rebuild their lives. With support from companies like Pennzoil, Mission: ABLE will continue to provide American disabled veterans with the tools to help them regain their mobility.