Tag Archives: disabled veteran

Looking for a Wheelchair Van Alternative?

Introducing – VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E Access360 Handicap Accessible SUV

VMI Honda Pilot blog photo

Vantage Mobility International (VMI) has announced the release date for their ALL-NEW, Wheelchair Accessible SUV built on the Honda Pilot chassis. VMI and Honda, what a great combination! VMI will start shipping initial quantities of their new handicap SUV February 9th. Dealers should expect the first of these units to arrive at their locations late February through March 2018, initial quantities will be limited. In fact, rumors pinned initial model year quantities to 500 units nationwide for 2018 (Not confirmed).

Superior Van & Mobility will have several units arriving, however initially not all of our ten locations will have a unit on hand due to allocation limitations. We will be staging initial quantities regionally to provide a wider range of opportunities in allowing all of our customers a chance to test drive. If you are very interested in seeing and taking a test drive of this incredible vehicle, be sure to contact your local Superior location ASAP to inquire about availability. We will be taking deposits from those customers wishing to secure one of the first units.

(see chart below for available Honda Pilot chassis’ for conversion)

So What Sets Apart The VMI Honda Pilot From Its Competition?

VMI Honda Pilot open w_ramp

The all-new VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E with Access360 is the industries newest and largest handicap accessible SUV that features an amazing, unobstructed door opening width of 33.5 inches and a 32” wide manual, in-floor ramp system! This new offering from VMI is going to be a game changer in the wheelchair accessible SUV market as it’s designed to outperform its competitors in every way; More Floor Length; More Cargo Space; More Floor Width; More Overall Interior Space/Maneuverability (Access360); More Headroom; Wider Ramp; and Wider Door Opening. (See brief spec sheet below)

VMI Access360 – Designed for Comfort and Enough Maneuverability for Large Wheelchairs

Honda Pilot Access 360 interior

Who is the Target Customer?

The first edition of the 2018 VMI Honda Pilot wheelchair accessible SUV is initially designed with the caregiver in mind; a wheelchair user who travels with a dedicated caregiveHonda Main Photor full-time. Initially, the Honda Pilot from VMI will only be available with the same ramp system found in its other Northstar E vehicles; a (MANUAL) In-floor ramp and door operating system. This time tested ramp deploys and stows with unmatched ease by utilizing VMI’s exclusive ramp-on-the-stick technology; by far the easiest operating system of any manual ramp on the market today. In fact, if you are a caregiver, you owe it to yourself to try the ramp-on-a-stick ramp system from VMI. The difference and ease of operation is unmatched!

NOTE: Initial talks, while not yet confirmed, have discussed VMI adding a fully power in-floor ramp and door option in the near future for those who don’t travel with a caregiver.

Manual Door and Ramp Operation

The Honda Pilot Northstar-E conversion features a patented, ultra-low, manual in-floor ramp system with an astonishing 32 inch width that allows for safe entry and exit of much larger wheelchairs. The ramp easily and conveniently stows and deploys from underneath the floor, creating additional interior space and maneuverability for the wheelchair user and his/her passengers. The ramp is made from a high strength aluminum alloy, and can support loads up to 800 lbs.

Removable Front Seats

The obstacle free front seats allow for easy removal, creating multiple seating arrangements for the wheelchair user and passengers. The space is large enough to accommodate two wheelchairs side-by-side if needed.

Headroom and Lowered Floor

The floor from just behind the firewall to the third row seat in the VMI Honda Pilot SUV is dropped a maximum of 16 inches to create the industry’s largest available headroom of any handicap accessible SUV. This drop in the floor also creates a usable door opening height of 55.5 inches, which makes the VMI Honda Pilot Northstar-E Access360 a great alternative for even the tallest seated wheelchair user.

Towing Capacity

As an added option, the 2018 VMI Honda Pilot is available with an integrated towing capacity of 3500 lbs. This large towing capacity further enhances the usage and capabilities of owning an SUV over a traditional minivan.

Honda Pilot Spec Sheet

 

2018 Available Chassis’ For Conversion:

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Shopping For A Scooter Lift

Shopping for a Scooter Lift
Online VS. Brick and Mortar

online vs store

With online shopping becoming more of the rule rather than the exception these days, you may find yourself searching for a scooter lift for your vehicle online. There are numerous sources out there where you can do just that, but is that the best option for you? Most likely it is not. Here are just a few of the main reasons why you should buy your scooter lift from a, “brick and mortar” mobility dealership such as Superior Van & Mobility.

1. Experience! Our mobility consultants are trained by the manufacturers to examine each application, ensuring you are choosing the right lift for your current and future needs. Finding the right lift is not always as easy as finding one that fits your vehicle. There are many additional factors we look at when determining what lift to recommend for your situation and need.

a. Is the lift rated at the proper amount of weight it will need to carry?
b. Is the lift the appropriate type for you current mobility device?
c. Does your vehicle have the correct specifications to handle a lift and its cargo?

i. Every vehicle has what’s called a “tongue weight rating” or TWR. The TWR is typically 10% of what the vehicle’s overall towing capacity is. Say for example your vehicle has a 1,500 pound towing capacity. That means the TWR is 150 pounds. If you add a 100 pound lift and a 200 pound scooter to that vehicle, you will exceed the TWR and serious damage can occur to both your vehicle and scooter. Plus, consider your safety. Exceeding the TWR is not only bad for your vehicle/equipment, but it also affects the handling of the vehicle which can jeopardize your safety and that of your passengers.

So, considering the investment you already made into your vehicle and scooter, does saving some money by purchasing a lift online seem like such a good deal after all? Yes? No? WeService Technicianll let me continue…

2. Trained Technicians! All of our technicians have been trained and certified to install and service every lift we install. This installation takes place in one of our ten service facilities. Not only will you have the peace-of-mind knowing that you are receiving the correct lift, but that it’s also being professionally installed and backed by a full warranty.

a. When you buy a lift online, who will do the installation?
b. Does your installer warranty their work?
c. How are you sure your installation was done correctly and it is safe?
d. Who will adjust it to make sure the platform angle is correct to handle the weight?
e. How do you know the correct hitch adapter is being used to ensure the lift is installed at the correct height?

These are all questions you must seriously consider as your safety and that of your equipment depends on it. However, by using a brick & mortar facility like Superior Van & Mobility, these are items you can rest assured are addressed and handled correctly as your safety and that of your equipment is our top priority.

3. Personal Service! When you call Superior Van & Mobility you will speak to a mobility consultant, not a sales person. Our mobility consultants are trained to ask the right questions as they intently listen to your needs, both current and future, before recommending any product. Our staff is not paid on commission, so you’ll find our approach is low pressure and understanding. You can rest assured that we will ask the right questions to ensure the wheelchair/scooter lift you need is the perfect fit, and that it addresses your current and future needs. When you shop online, all the research on the different types of lifts is up to you. You must know what questions to ask, your measurements, weights, etc. and hope the information you provide to and are provided by an online salesperson is correct and answered honestly, as most online retailers are simply looking to make a sale. Here is just a few of the questions you should ensure you are being asked, if you are not, you should avoid purchasing online. Your needs and safety are not being taken into consideration.

a. Would you prefer an interior or exterior lift?
b. Who will be operating the lift?
c. Can the person using the lift/scooter stand for several minutes while the lift is operating?
d. Do you have the dexterity to attach securement straps or would you prefer automatic securement?
e. Do you have more than one mobility device you use?

Again, these are just a few of the important questions that need to be asked and answered. The last thing you want to have to go through is to purchase a lift online only to find out it doesn’t work well for your needs!

Curb-Sider3_woman4. Quality Products! When buying a lift from a brick and mortar dealer you know you are getting a quality product. Before we sell any product, we do the research as our business depends on it. We will only sell products that we feel are of the utmost quality and that are backed by a full manufacturer warranty. There are many lift companies out there, but not all of them build their products with the same quality construction, or use quality components as others. If you purchase a lift online, how well will it hold up and do the job you rely on it providing? Who will you have service it if it malfunctions? What if you needs parts for it? At a brick and mortar dealer like Superior Van & Mobility, our goal is to ensure that your equipment is not only correct for your needs, but also is quality made and of good components. There’s nothing worse than being out and about, only to have your lift malfunction leaving you stranded! By the way, most brick & mortar dealers like Superior Van & Mobility are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). These dealers must uphold the highest in standards, and when they are also part of the NMEDA Quality Assurance Program (QAP) they must also provide 24/7 emergency service. We will never leave you stranded!

5. Trust! Superior Van & Mobility has been around for 35+ years serving clients. We have an A+ BBB rating in every state we have a facility, and as mentioned earlier, we are standing members of NMEDA. At Superior, we will always stand behind our work. We have a dedicated staff, each ready and willing to help you anyway possible in regaining your independence. In fact, we pride ourselves on having a staff that is passionate about helping others, it is our driving force. When you make a purchase from Superior Van & Mobility, you become part of our family, not just another order. Oh, one last thing… We have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the business! Sorry, had to toot our horn just a little bit.

How to Determine Career-Fit: A Guide for People with Disabilities

 


This is a guest post by, Patricia Sarmiento Who blogs at Publichealthcorps.org.

career clock

Photo by Flazingo Photos via Flickr

What kind of career would be ideal for you? If you’re living with a disability, the answer to this question may seem incredibly difficult to answer. Not only must you weigh your interests, passions, background, and skills, but also your abilities — and in such a way that many other job seekers don’t have to consider.

Doing research about different careers is an excellent way to see what they can offer you and how compatible the job requirements are with your specific abilities and limitations. While looking into these jobs you can learn what the general requirements are, including what kind of education is needed and if work experience is necessary. Below are some suggestions for conducting career research to determine if your top career choices are a good fit for you.

Are You Qualified?

It’s always a good idea to flex your research muscles when searching for a job. Check out the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, where you can find out all kinds of information on different careers, such as employment projections, which indicate the outlook for different professions in the coming years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also includes data on median salaries, how many people are employed in a specific career, and 10-year projections on those individual data points. Other helpful information to be found here includes how much experience is needed, what kind of education is needed, and if on-the-job training is commonly offered for certain jobs, which is helpful for planning your educational goals if you have a specific career in mind.

Job boards are another way to examine different careers and what kinds of jobs are available. These Internet sites allow you access to job descriptions and required qualifications such as education and work experience. Sometimes employers also list salaries or salary ranges for certain jobs, which can give you an idea of what to expect if you enter that field.

Is Telecommuting an Option?

A very helpful way to find out about a company is to go to their website, where you can uncover a plethora of information in many cases, such as the company’s vision, what the company does in detail, services offered, contact information, and press the company has received. Then there are the “jobs” or “careers” links, which can usually be found at either the bottom of the page or somewhere near the top of the page, underneath the name and logo of the company. These listings are an excellent way to find jobs as companies sometimes list openings on their own sites without making use of job boards at all. On a company website, you can see specific jobs available all over the country (for national organizations), and the listings will usually disclose if telecommuting is an option. There are more telecommuting job opportunities than ever, which is convenient for most people but can be particularly useful for people with disabilities who may not be able to travel readily to an office every day.

Is The Company Disability Friendly?

There are ways you can research how disability-friendly companies are. One way is to check the Disability Equality Index (DEI), a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The DEI is “a national, transparent benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero (0) to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices, and identify opportunities for continued improvement.” The DEI breaks down the survey into 4 categories (with subcategories) including:

● Culture & Leadership
● Enterprise-Wide Access
● Employment Practices
● Community Engagement & Support Services

What Are You Passionate About?

Have you always loved writing? Do you have a knack for computers and technology? Do you enjoy working with your hands or spending time with the public? When you’re choosing a career path, don’t forget to consider what makes you happy. The great news is that today’s sharing economy offers many ways to do what you love from your home while creating your own schedule. For example, if you love writing or graphic design, there are many platforms, e.g. UpWork, that allow you to find clients and opportunities easily. Or if you think working with animals would make you happy, consider pet sitting or dog walking. You can find clients in your area online and grow your own specialized business. Think carefully about what you love doing and figure out a way to incorporate it into your profession…then, as the saying goes, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

Put these ideas to use to research potential job opportunities and determine whether your skills and abilities are a fit for the career you have in mind, and you’re sure to find the perfect career for you.

For a list of current job posting at Superior Van & Mobility, click here. Equal opportunity employer.

 

Patricia Sarmiento loves swimming and running. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.

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…

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.

A Wounded Veteran’s Cross Country Bike Ride

Sadly, it’s not uncommon for soldiers to return home from overseas with severe injuries. Many handle their injuries in different ways—something that is made quite evident in the case of Rob Jones.

Jones, a recipient of the Purple Heart, lost both of his legs above the knee while in Afghanistan. Obviously, with such an injury, his rehabilitation process was a long and grueling one. But he never gave up, and when it was all said and done, was more motivated than ever to live his life the way he wanted, which involved riding a bike across the US.

Since his recovery and rehabilitation, Jones has become a Paralympic bronze medalist and, as he puts it, “I wanted to be able to give back. I feel very satisfied that I’m able to do good things for wounded veterans”.

Jones has been able to do just that by attempting to raise more than $1 million for three military charities that helped him in the course of his own recovery.

He has been riding across country—from Bar Harbor, Maine to San Diego, California, for roughly six months. Averaging 30 miles a day, Jones is able to ride after learning to ride an upright bicycle without any power beneath his knees.

With his home stretch ahead of him and his trek nearly over, Rob Jones is a reminder of just how capable those with disabilities can be when they put their hearts and minds first. His ride should be over around the middle of April, and he hopes to not only serve as an inspiration to other disabled veterans, but to also raise the money necessary to help make their lives a better.

SOCHI / RUSSIA / DISABILTIES

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the start of the year, you’re very likely familiar with the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi this year.
But what you may not be aware of is the heated history that Russia has had in terms to accommodating those with disabilities. It was an issue that was seen here and there during events in Sochi but have origins from elsewhere in the country’s history.
It began in 1980 when the Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow. During this time, the then Soviet Union would not play host to the Paralympics, despite the fact that the two events are typically held at the same location. Their reasoning was that “there are no invalids in the USSR.” Of course, this is not true. Recent polling indicates that at least 9% of the population has some sort of disability.
The lack of wheelchair accessible ramps and elevators are a constant obstacle throughout the country. Many disabled individuals stay confined to their homes for days on end because they have no way of getting out.
Many saw Sochi as a prime opportunity for Russia to mend any fences that might have been broken during the 80s when they made such a stance. Unfortunately, much of that same mindset was still present. But athletes arrived at the location only to find that there were still many hindrances.
Wheelchair accessible transportation was severely lacking. Doorways were not wide enough to allow the passage of larger wheelchairs. Other doors and their frames were raised from the floor in most venues. Wheelchair access to buildings that were handicap accessible were often hard to find or in poor condition.
While Russia is certainly not the only country in the world that is not doing enough to accommodate its handicapped population or visitor with disabilities, the events at Sochi make it clear that they have much work to do.

How to Provide Support for a Disabled Family Member

Providing mental and emotional support for a disabled family member is no easy task. After all, depending on the nature of the disability, family members might feel out of their comfort zone, or struggle to find the right words to say to a loved one when he or she is having a bad day.

If a loved one in your family is disabled, it’s important to know what to do when he or she needs your love and support. Consider using the following advice when you want to show your loved one that you’ll always be there:

• Don’t baby your family member if he or she is having a bad day. This can often come from a place of good intentions; however, this might make a disabled person feel worse, particularly if he or she is feeling bad about being physically or mentally handicapped. Babying them will only make them feel worse about themselves.

• Engage in fun activities that the two of you can enjoy together. Develop a ritual of watching your favorite TV show together, or schedule regular phone calls to talk about celebrity gossip. Doing regular – and fun! – activities can lift someone’s spirits when he or she needs some extra love.

• Don’t be afraid to talk about the disability. Your family member doesn’t want to be treated with kid gloves – in fact, making an effort to avoid talking about the disability altogether might make him or her feel invisible. Talk about it in a way that’s respectful without it becoming the prime focus of all your interactions.

• Your family member is more than a disability – and he or she needs to be treated as such. Talk about everyday normal things, make fun of your creepy uncle together, or just play video games together while your family’s in the kitchen cooking up a Thanksgiving turkey.

It’s our hope that these hints have demonstrated that you should treat your loved one for who they are: a person who has a special place in your heart, regardless of his or her disability.