Specially adapted vehicle to be presented to paralyzed Marine in time for the holidays


Tampa, FL - Just in time for the holidays, a Marine paralyzed from the shoulders down will receive the gift of mobility. A specially adapted Ride-Away van will be presented to active duty Marine Staff Sergeant (SSgt.) Scott Nicholas and his family at the Ride-Away Handicap Equipment office in Tampa this Thursday, December 15 at 10:00 a.m.

SSgt Scott Nicholas, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was paralyzed in a vehicle accident in November, 2010 in Jacksonville, North Carolina. For the past year, his wife Yolanda and family have been at his side while he has gone through rehabilitation and recovery. Scott is currently receiving therapy at the Tampa Veterans Administration hospital.

Special adaptations to the Chrysler 2011 Touring van include a low-floor conversion that will allow Scott to access the vehicle with his wheelchair and ride in the passenger side position. The vehicle is being made possible through a $12,700 Adaptive Transportation grant from the Semper Fi Fund, a grant from the Veterans Administration, and a special Veterans discount from Ride-Away. Additionally, special administrative and logistical support was provided by Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH).

Thanks also to Ride-Away’s generosity, the Nicholas family received a temporary low-floor adapted van during the six months production time of their new adaptive vehicle.

SSgt Nicholas will receive the van with his wife Yolanda and their three children on Thursday. Also in attendance will be Semper Fi Fund Case Manager Sheri Holden, HOMH Chairman of the Board Ted Hollander, President of Ride-Away Handicap Equipment Mark Lore, and General Manager of Ride-Away of Tampa Jim Scruggs.

The Semper Fi Fund helps fund specially adapted vehicles through its Adaptive Transportation grants. These grants are provided to service members who have lost limbs, or has been catastrophically injured in combat or training, or as in SSgt Nicholas’ case, as a result an accident while on active duty. Modified transportation is a vital component to a successful rehabilitation for someone who is severely injured. It is key to ensuring that appointments and therapies are easily attended, and more freedom of mobility is given to the service member and their families.

As of November, 2011, the Semper Fi Fund has provided more than 1,700 grants totaling almost $6 million towards the costs of purchasing or modifying vehicles for our catastrophically injured and critically ill service members.

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