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disAbility Resource Center springs into action


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Sunday afternoon was a perfect spring day to enjoy the Heritage Trail and Canal Path in Fredericksburg.

Close to 100 people did just that—by foot and by wheel—to help raise money and awareness for the disAbility Resource Center’s Equipment Connection at its first “Walk ’n’ Roll” event.

Based in Fredericksburg, Equipment Connection donates used medical equipment to those in need.

“Last month alone, we gave out $20,000 worth of medical equipment to people in need,” said Michael Hamlett, director of Equipment Connection. “The need is huge.”

Some of that equipment, including lots of wheelchairs, was being used at Sunday’s event, held at the Quarles Petroleum Company’s office on Fall Hill Avenue.

The Heritage Trail and Canal Path runs next to the office complex. Participants and volunteers made the 3-mile trek as part of the fundraiser.

“Beautiful day for a walk,” said Derek Fults, laughing from his motorized wheelchair after a trip around the trail.

The fundraiser also included information booths, food, live music and a Lions Clubs health screening bus.

Equipment Connection provided more than 2,100 pieces of medical equipment last year, said Debe Fults, director of the disAbility Resource Center and Derek Fults’ mother.

The group relies on donations and grants. Unfortunately, a portion of local funding the center is used to getting was cut this year.

That’s why the Walk ’n’ Roll fundraiser was held.

“We’re under-known,” said Jeffrey Halperin, a board member of the resource center. “Just making people aware of it” is important.

He and others noted that plenty of soldiers have been returning to the area with injuries and other problems from the wars in the Middle East. They said those soldiers could get the medical equipment they need for free from the center.

“The veterans program is so important,” said Arva Priola, who works at the resource center. “So many of them don’t know about us.”

The center also offers counseling, advocacy and information on resources at no charge.

Kim Lett, program manager at the resource center, said they included the Heritage Trail and Canal Path as part of the fundraiser because it’s handicap-friendly and they wanted to show the positive impact the medical equipment has on the lives of those who have disabilities.

“The Heritage Trail allows them to get out, enjoy some fresh air,” said Lett, who added that the center plans to hold the event annually. “This gives people time to take a break and relax.”

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436