The first power wheelchair donated through the Friends of Disabled Veterans of Carroll County was paired with its new owner, Air Force veteran Ken Dolan, 75, at Integrace Fairhaven on Friday, Feb. 1.
The Friends of Disabled Veterans of Carroll County, a nonprofit organization formed to help bring local veterans to non-emergency medical and dentist appointments, received the wheelchair last year from the same family that donated its van the year prior.
Woodbine residents Lisa Powers, Pam McGlynn and Jeff Pool wanted to honor their father, Wayne Pool, a Marine veteran, by donating the equipment for a good use — and said they found that use with the new non-profit.
“We just wanted to do something to honor dad that he would be proud of,” Powers told the Times. “So we found a veterans group that was actually going to use the wheelchair.
“We contacted a lot of groups,” she said, “but mostly I was finding clearing houses that would take the van, sell it, and give the money to a charity of choice. We really wanted to find a group that would use the van for good — and that's how we found Bill Murphy.”
The Friends of Disabled Veterans of Carroll County has been an official 501c3 since early 2017, and has been transporting county veterans to local doctor and dentist appointments and delivering holiday meals since October 2018.
And Murphy, co-founder of the organization, said that the Friends of Disabled Veterans is broadening the scope of its work.
“It’s not just the transportation,” he told the Times. “We’re also getting involved with wheelchair donations going to needy vets.”
Said Powers: “I'm so glad [Bill] found a home for the chair, because that’s ultimately what we wanted to happen.”
She came to Integrace with McGlynn to present the wheelchair to Dolan on Friday.
Dolan has lived with complications from Agent Orange during his time on active duty — from 1961 to 1991 — and diabetes, which led him to rehabilitative therapy at Integrace Fairhaven last November, and moving into the independent living facility this week.
The veteran said in order to be able to move into Integrace, staff told him he needed to acquire and learn how to use a wheelchair so he could be independent.
Thanks to the Pool family and the Friends of Disabled Veterans of Carroll County, he now has one.
“I think it’s just so fantastic,” Dolan said. “I’m so glad there’s someone out there doing something like this — and maybe I can get the opportunity to give this wheelchair to someone else who needs it one day.”
Dayton Caddy, Director of Marketing at Integrace Fairhaven, said the facility is excited to have Dolan moving in this month and to initiate a partnership with the nonprofit.
“The electric wheelchair is just a supplementing piece for everything he can do here,” Caddy said Friday.
“It’s great, teaming up with Bill and his team,” he said. “The generosity of the family members, having them here, also made it so much more of a sentimental exchange.”
The presentation of the wheelchair on Friday morning was filmed by Community Media Center and will be aired on Channel 19 later this month. More information will be available closer to the airing date, and can be obtained by calling the Community Media Center at 410-386-4415.