Wheelchair side-lift van project provides gift of mobility

This photo shows Gary Brummitt with the new-to-him wheelchair side-lift van donated by the Smith family and fixed up by friends of Brummitt. The year-long project was completed just before Thanksgiving and involved the help and support of numerous community members and businesses.

Every now and then someone sees a need, and instead of just talking about it, they actually stand up and do something. Such was the case when Gary Brummitt’s old van finally failed and left the wheelchair-bound Brummitt to seek other transportation. A few friends, who value the quality of the friendship they share with Gary, knew of his struggles and decided to act. They learned of a fully loaded, custom built, wheelchair side-lift van which belonged to another local family; it had been sitting unused for three years, had numerous mechanical and electrical problems, and was destined to rust into irreparable decay if not resurrected soon. The owners graciously donated the van to be returned to working order with the understanding that it would then be gifted to Brummitt. What followed was a project that spanned almost a full year and culminated two days before Thanksgiving when Gary’s friends, who had seen the project through to completion, presented the van to him. The project took a lot of work from a lot of people and couldn’t have come to fruition without the generous donations, assistance and elbow grease of many people and businesses that sought no glory for themselves, but merely saw the need and helped to fill it.


First and foremost, the greatest thanks go to The Smith Family. Dale and Marcie, Rosa, Dave, Matt and Josh who willingly and enthusiastically donated the van for renewal.

The following individuals, organizations and businesses contributed time, funding and resources which made this project possible, and deserve to be thanked for their contributions.

Thank you to Matt Croasmun, Hugh Dilbeck, Dwan Hall, Tony Martin, Monty Norvell, Jeff Sewill, Jim Shakoske, Troy Whitlock and Tim Wagner.

Thank you to The Loyal Order of Moose, The Women of the Moose, Darcy Bennett of Alaska Stair Lift & Elevator in Anchorage for providing a new Lift Motor, Doaks Lock & Key for access panel keying, Mike “Brillo” Chitty of Glacier Muffler for repairing the Lift System, Jeff Pilcher and Jari Krook of Valley Auto Parts for donating two new batteries and Mike Whisenant of Wingnut Auto Salon for donating a full detailing.

If anybody who assisted was inadvertently omitted from this thank you, please know that your help was much appreciated.


Rik Pruett, Steven Niven and Troy Bowthorpe


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