Editor’s Note: Mike Savicki, of Cornelius, North Carolina, decided that he wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot. He felt he was strong, smart and brave enough to be among the Navy’s top jet fighter pilots, and he almost made it. Part 5 of a 5 part series.
NMEDA (www.nmeda.com) is the trade association for all the car, van and vehicle adaptive distributors across the country. Its mission is to educate people with disabilities on the many options they have to get out of the house and be active, whether they’re driving vans, being passengers in a van or adapting a vehicle to their specific disabilities.
NMEDA tries to bridge the gap between the vehicle dealers, who are building these individually designed vehicles and developing lift systems, and the clients like myself, who need wheelchair vans or cars with hand controls and lift systems that enable those of us in wheelchairs to get into and out of their vehicles and be active participants in society.
They are also about safety and compliance. Their Quality Assurance Program ensures that every NMEDA vehicle is inspected, certified and is safe for the recipient.Mobility has been an important part of my life since I first became disabled and I believe in the mission of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) because of their passion to improve the lives of people like me who live with disabilities.
NMEDA tries to educate people who need specially adapted vehicles know that there are a huge variety of options out there. In my case, I drive a mini van with hand controls and a swivel seat but others might prefer something different. It doesn’t matter if it is a car, truck or SUV, there’s a solution out there that fits your needs.
We all know that vehicles are expensive and anyone who has ever been in the market for an adapted vehicle will tell you that these specially built cars and vans are even more expensive. Sometimes, these types of vehicles may be cost prohibitive, so some people may not be able to afford them.
One of NMEDA’s newest and most innovative programs is called the Local Heroes program. It involves giving away three customized vehicles – a Toyota, a Honda and a Chrysler – that can cost upwards of $60,000. Anyone and everyone can enter to win and to qualify, visit www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com and share your story.
Upload a picture along with your written story or prepare a short video that explains why you need a vehicle like the three being given away and/or why you deserve to win a vehicle, to the NMEDA website. And then get people to vote for you.
The winners of the three vehicles will be determined through a national voting process and they will be announced this May, as part of the first ever National Mobility Awareness Month.
We plan to share these individual stories nationally to let other people with similar disabilities know that there are transportation options available. You can live a full and active lifestyle and still travel, explore and discover your world. Because other people with disabilities are much like me; they want to stay as active as they can for as long as they can.
As for me, I want to continue participating in sports, continue my writing career and my wife, Sarah, and I hope to have a family. In the 22 years since my accident, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my disability and the world I live in. And giving back has become a central part of my life. I have been helped by many individuals and non-profit organizations and, now, I want to give back and support those organizations so that they can help other people, like they’ve helped me. After all, we are meant to be interconnected and we need each other to live completely.
Mike Savicki is the national spokesperson for the first-ever, National Mobility Awareness Month in May. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is sponsoring the awareness month.
Founded in 1989 as a non-profit trade association, NMEDA supports more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For information on NMEDA, please visit www.nmeda.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com for the national awareness month. For more information about Mike, please visit www.mikesavicki.com
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com