"Local hero" hopes to win NMEDA adaptive vehicle
A Stuart man has been nominated as a "local hero" by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), which observes National Mobility Awareness Month each May.
Jared Weiland had a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 18, when he was a senior at Patrick County High School.
Following weeks in a coma, months in the hospital, and years of rehabilitation and hard work, Jared continues to improve and strives to increase his independence.
The NMEDA theme of "Life Moving Forward" aims to recognize the perseverance of those living with physical challenges and increase awareness of solutions for greater independence, according to an NMEDA news release.
The highlight of the month is the Local Hero Contest, which gives a chance to win a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to those trying to live without limits. Four adaptive vehicles will be awarded, customized to fit the needs of the winners.
A motorized wheelchair was not an option for Jared until years after his stroke, but now he can be seen around the town of Stuart, greeting customers at Honduras Coffee Shop, working at the DeHart Park pool, or driving to Stuart Presbyterian Church.
The powered chair requires a converted van for transportation, so Jared uses a manual wheelchair if the weather is poor or to go anywhere out of town.
Jared lives in Stuart with his parents, Ray and Tammy, and his brother, Matthew.
"He can't get around efficiently in the manual wheelchair, relying on others when he has to use it," Matthew said.
"We are all so appreciative of the love and support given to our family through the years, and we know we can always count on Patrick County residents to rally around us," Tammy said.
"People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the United States and you could become a member of this group at any time," the NMEDA news release stated.
Jared's story will appear on the NMEDA website http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com from May 1 until May 31.
Jared needs your help in this phase of the contest. You may vote one time each day for your "local hero." Please spread the word to anyone and everyone. Votes are accepted from anywhere in the world.
Don't vote more than once per day, or use multiple e-mail addresses, or Jared could be disqualified from the contest.
The top 10% of vote-earners will advance to the second round of the contest, judged by a panel of mobility specialists. The winners will be selected based on their efforts to make the most of their lives in a positive and uplifting way, and their need for an adaptive vehicle.
Jared says "thank you," and he is excited to watch the voting process.
If you have any questions, you can call the Weilands at 276-694-2595.