BREWER, Maine (WABI) For the last three years, Rotary Clubs in Maine have worked together to raise money to provide free wheelchairs for people in third world countries.
Now the Bangor Rotary is joining forces with Ellsworth and Old Town Rotarians to raise money to distribute the chairs in the Dominican Republic next year.
"This is the first year we've gotten involved with the wheelchair project," said Ken Nagle the Vice President of the Bangor Breakfast Rotary Club. "Our club has not done any international projects in recent years, and we wanted to get started because Rotary is a worldwide organization."
During the last three years, Rotary Clubs in Maine have helped provide wheelchairs to places in Central America.
Dave Wheaton, who just recently switched from Ellsworth Rotary to the Bangor Breakfast Rotary, has been involved in two of those trips. "Three percent of the population of the total world needs a wheelchair or needs some way for mobility. The needs in the countries like that are such that in South America that you know it's mountainous hillside and people are really very poor. The chairs that we provide actually have mountain bike tires on them, so they are good for the rugged terrain."
Bangor, in conjunction with clubs in Ellsworth and Old Town, needs to raise
20-thousand dollars to fund this project.
While the delivery will be in February, Nagle said the funds need to be in place this fall. "There's momentum and it's several clubs, so we're all working together raising money, and that's one of the good things about Rotary. There's a lot of people that like what we do and step up and write some checks and we have a reputation of getting things done."
The plan is to deliver 126 wheelchairs, and for those who make the trip, Wheaton said it will stay with them forever. "It's very rewarding. For those who go on the trip, it's a life changing event. In Rotary, there is a thing called the Rotary moment that people talk about where they realize why they are a Rotarian, and almost everybody who goes on this trip will have one of those Rotary moments on those kind of trips."
To find out more you can visit their website Bangor Breakfast Rotary dot org.
You can donate there through the Get Involved tab.