John Barrette

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December 4, 2012
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Manual and power wheelchairs brighten lives due to donations

Blessed are those who go in circles, for they shall be known as wheels.

That's an old and amusing variation on an even older theme, in this case one that points toward the virtuous rather than vicious circle in life.

If virtuous circles capture the spirit of the holidays, it's worth noting Teresa Ohl and the multi-year effort of her business to circulate wheelchairs in the community of people who need them.

"It's an awesome feeling," said Ohl, the woman behind the effort at Capitol City Loans in Carson City. She said filling such a need sparks gratitude in recipients. "It's wonderful to see the look on people's faces."

Here's how it works: Capitol City Loan, a pawnbroker in eastern Carson City, takes in and pays a bit for manual or power wheelchairs and scooters when people no longer need them. After repair or spiffing up, they are donated to others who can't afford them but have the need.

Five power chairs and three scooters went to people selected by the Carson City Senior Center recently, but that's just the latest group in a project involving more than 150 during the years.

Ohl doesn't act like a wheel, in the usual context of that slang term for VIPs, but she enjoys the virtuous circle aspect and reading letters of thanks from those she and the senior center help in the process.

"I was really starting to get depressed about my lack of mobility," Scott Elwell of Carson City wrote the center's Warren Bottino, "but now I see things in a much more positive light."

Elwell termed the difference it has made in his life "amazing."

Bottino, approached earlier this year by Ohl on behalf of her business, learned she had eight electric power chairs and scooters she would like to donate to homebound nutrition clients.

"I was able to find people more quickly than I would have imagined," Bottino said, "and didn't realize the impact this donation would ultimately make."

The center's social work program manager said Teresa and a colleague brought the chairs on a flatbed truck and personally delivered them to recipients.

The donations, he said, meant independence for some with problems walking, security for others facing progressive degenerative conditions, "and tears of joy for at least one woman who shared it had been years since she could go outside without the assistance of her husband."

Recent recipients, along with Elwell, according to Carson City Loans were Robert Oeder, Paula Baker, Dennis Smith, Martha Gunn, Susan Maddox, Rosaline Carvin and Jack Skovgaard.

Ohl enjoys re-circulating such means of mobility so much her business has been involved in this project since 2004.

To date, in that period the firm has distributed 99 manual and 59 power chairs or scooters in Carson City and environs.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Dec 4, 2012 02:10AM Published Dec 4, 2012 02:09AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.