P.A. Group Home Society gets new wheelchair van

Matt Gardner
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Residents at the Prince Albert Group Home Society (PAGHS) have a spiffy new ride to get around town.

On Friday, the PAGHS officially marked the debut of its new wheelchair van, purchased with the help of donations from Telemiracle and the Northern Lights Community Development Corporation (NLCDC).

Going forward, staff members will be able to use the van to help drive residents -- whose needs range from intellectual disabilities to physical and developmental challenges -- to functions and activities throughout the city.

“They like to be part of the community,” PAGHS chairperson Carol Beck noted of the residents. “They like to get out and go to the Raider games, go to high school football games. They like to go swimming, they like to go to the Winter Festival, the functions there. They go to the fair.

“We have quite a few people in wheelchairs or walkers that need assistance to get anywhere, and we’re very limited in the handicapped transportation in P.A. So it’s wonderful to have our own van.”

The van represents the first time the PAGHS has been able to purchase a brand-new vehicle.

“We’ve had a third-hand one before and it reached the end of its ability to be safe to use,” Beck said. “So that’s why we decided to get a new one.”

To help purchase the van, Telemiracle contributed $32,000, while the NLCDC presented a cheque for $30,000 on Friday.

Meanwhile, PAGHS staff and board members raised the remaining $7,000 themselves through a variety of methods, which included everything from bake sales to selling tickets for Christmas baskets to asking for help from friends.

We’re very limited in the handicapped transportation in P.A., so it’s wonderful to have our own van. Carol Beck

Beck pointed to the example of a former board member whose husband died.

“She asked that money for him be donated to the Group Home Society, instead of flowers or any other charities,” Beck said.

The sizable contribution of the NLCDC represented the final piece in the puzzle that allowed the group home to purchase its wheelchair van.

NLCDC funds come from the Northern Lights Casino, where 25 per cent of net profits each year go to charities and non-profit organization within the area such as the PAGHS.

Regarding the NLCDC’s donation for the van, NLCDC chairperson Garry Standing noted, “I think the group home serves a certain segment of our population that needs that certain type of specialized service.

“So basically, with the purchase of the van, that’s one step in making it easier for them to serve the special needs of this one segment of our population.”

PAGHS executive director Jeff Gendron expressed his appreciation for the help of groups such as Telemiracle and the NLCDC.

“They allow non-profits and charities like ourselves to actually extend our reach in the community,” Gendron said. “And we’d just like to say a big thank you to them.”

Organizations: Northern Lights Community Development, P.A. Group Home Society, Northern Lights Casino

Geographic location: P.A.

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