Disabled man needs help to keep van | NevadaAppeal.com
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Disabled man needs help to keep van

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal
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A young man who was able to get a handicapped-equipped van with the help of a community fundraiser is in danger of losing his transportation.

Jared Dempsey’s mother Virginia said this week she was forced to delay making payments on the van in order to keep a roof over the Carson City family’s head.

“I’m two months behind and they repo’d it the night before last,” she said.

She said the credit union is trying to give her a break but that, “They want $1,377 by the 17th to save it or otherwise I can’t get it back.”

That news prompted longtime family friend and supporter Wayne Bachand of Nevada Seating and Mobility to get involved.

“She called me up to see how much it would be to take the lift out of it,” he said. “The kid has cerebral palsy. The only way he can get around is this van.”

“We have to stop somewhere and this is it. This is enough,” he said.

A fundraiser four years ago raised $900 toward the purchase of the lift but the family had to buy the van. His mother has been making the payments since but just wasn’t able to do it for the past two months.

“It’s been a rough year for me,” said Virginia, a single mom. “It’s not like I wasn’t going to pay for it. It’s like I either had to make the house payment or the van and I said my kids need a roof over their head.”

Jared is one of three children in the family.

Bachand, who installed the lift in the first place, said he encouraged Virginia to open an account at Wells Fargo Bank to try to raise enough in contributions to save her son’s van. He said he plans to be the first contributor.

His business makes, customizes and installs wheelchairs, lifts and other devices to give the handicapped more mobility and freedom. He said he has known the Dempseys for about 15 years, “working on his wheelchairs, building his seating systems, working with his van.”

He described Virginia as a hard-working single mom and veteran Costco employee.

“She’s persevered through this whole thing,” he said.

Jared, now 20, has come to public attention in the past. When he was 16, he took his objections to the lack of wheelchair accessibility at Carson City bus stops to city officials and convinced them to add ADA-accessible facilities throughout the city.

That was before he got the van. A quadriplegic, he uses a powered wheelchair and depends completely on the van to get around.

“I’m just concerned that, if he doesn’t have the van, he’ll be one of those who disappears because he can never leave the house,” said Bachand.

He said the vehicle is critical to allowing Jared to lead a much more normal life.

Virginia Dempsey said she is hopeful that, if she can raise money for the two back payments, she can work out a new loan agreement to lower the monthly payments, currently $526, to an amount she can handle. She said bank officials haven’t promised anything but have said they are willing to talk.