A 2022 Chrysler Grand Caravan STX with a BraunAbility commercial rear-entry manual folding ramp was unveiled Saturday morning at the Weyburn Special Care Home.
Myron Fletcher with the Weyburn Care-A-Van Society, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring accessible transportation for those who need it in our community, said the new van can hold up to two wheelchairs, but also has seating in the back for passengers traveling with an individual wheelchair.
"We purchased it out of Winnipeg because you have to get a professional company that builds them, so we did a deal with them," he explained. "We wanted to get a 2023 and they sold it, because vehicles like this are hard to find because of the pandemic. So they had a 2022 for $10,000 less, so we took it."
He said the van they were previously using, purchased in 2013, went to the Weyburn Group Home Society.
"They needed one because they didn't have one with a manual ramp on the back. So we're able to help them because they've been looking for one too. So it helped the community out as well."
Fletcher noted this 2022 van has only got 1,500 kilometers on its odometre but has been booked for five days this upcoming week. It can be driven by anyone who has a valid driver's license.
"The Regina trip is $85 basic plus $0.50 per K after 100 Ks, and we pay for the fuel, so it helps people," he shared. "We're here to help people. We're not trying to make a profit."
Fletcher added there are a number of other service groups in Weyburn that belong to the Care-A-Van Society to help run it, including the Rotary Club, the Weyburn Legion and the Young Fellows Club of Weyburn.
Other local groups helped out with the donations, including the Weyburn Kinsmen & Kinettes, the Soo Line Cruisers Car Club, the Weyburn Credit Union, the G Murray and Edna Forbes Foundation, the Bill and Helen Davidson Foundation, the Weyburn Police Association, and the Weyburn Quota Club.
The Weyburn Kinsmen & Kinettes were in attendance for the unveiling, after helping to ensure a $40,000 contribution from TeleMiracle toward the vehicle purchase.
"It's quite exciting," said president Marie Reeve, noting they did a variety of fundraisers to help make it happen.
Reeve, who also sits on the Weyburn Care-A-Van board as the Kin Club representative, said the previous van got plenty of use.
"We've had lots of people use it for family events. I've had people thanking me for having this in the community. They were able to take their mother to a wedding, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to have family members home at Christmas. It's just such a wonderful service."
Trev Sealy, President of the Soo Line Cruisers Car Club said their $1,500 contribution was the result of their Show & Shine Car Show in June.
"We heard that they were fundraising for this. It's a great cause for Weyburn and it's great to support them."
Anyone who needs to book a trip can phone 306-861-2219.
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