By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
If a Craig resident is confined to a wheelchair and needs to go to the grocery store, his or her only means of getting there is by wheelchair.
Evelyn Tileston, executive director of the Independent Life Center, said that is the option that many residents are forced to use., unless they own a wheel chair accessible car, which many don't.
Because of this problem, the Independent Life Center started a fund-raising drive Jan. 1 to purchase a wheel chair accessible van for residents of Craig and surrounding areas.
So far, they have raised $3,052, one tenth of their $30,000 goal.
"We have people in Craig who have disabilities that prevent them from driving," Tileston said. "The most obvious being those who have wheelchairs."
Many people in wheelchairs must get around town using their wheelchairs, which can be dangerous for the individual, she said. Accidents have occurred where police have had to help people who have tipped or had some other problem while getting around town.
"The reason we exist is to help people with severe disabilities be as independent as they are willing to be," she said. "We put on many events but don't have a way of getting these people to them. There is a senior citizen bus in town but it only provides transportation for those over 62-years-old."
Tileston said the Independent Life Center has worked with the city and Diamond Cab & Courier in Craig about implementing use of the new van.
"The city will provide service and gas money," she said.
Disabled people who want to use the van would be given a card verifying that they are eligible to use the service, she said.
One way people can contribute is by signing up their City Market value card number with the Independent Life Center, she said. When people use their card, City Market will donate a portion of the sale toward the new van fund.
Community support is needed, she said.
"Those of us who have disabilities appreciate the community helping us get suitable transportation," she said.
One reason the fund has already gone over $3,000 is because of a generous donation from Horizons.
Melissa Schott, adult services coordinator at Horizons, said she definitely sees a need for the van.
"It's very important that we get another one in town," she said.
Tileston said the money already donated by community members is appreciated.
"The money we have already raised is the result of goodness in people's hearts," she said.
The Independent Life Center can be reached at 826-0833.