In June we were getting ready for a week end visit with Erin & Scott Rhode (...remember Erin is Lt Michell's daughter...he was killed in Viet Nam when Eddie was injured) They now live in Carey, N Carolina...but would be visiting in Dallas for a week end. The plans were made and we would meet there.
THEN...just before that week end we began to get calls and emails.....URGENT must speak with you! Mary Eisenhower was trying to reach us! When we finally quit playing phone tag she let me know that they needed to get Eddies new ibot wheelchair to him FAST because Tony Orlando planned on presenting it to him at the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) convention in Las Vegas in July. Eddie needed to get the chair and get some training before then.
We learned that a man named Gary Lawson with the Huey 091 Foundation had the chair in Dallas and would bring it to us....BUT since we were going that way we made arrangements to meet and get the chair while in Dallas. What a thrill it was for Eddie to have Erin and her family there to see him get the chair and watch him train! Between Gary Lawson, who had been reading the manual....AND on the phone Gary Linfoot talking Eddie through each step the training took place. Eddie learned to put the chair into the balance mode raising him to eye level.
At that height he can also move the chair about and we can "walk" as never before...seeing each other "eye to eye". He had to promise not to try to climb stairs until he received proper training for that. It took about 5 strong males to get the wheelchair into the back of Brittnee's trailblazer for the trip home where it stayed for a few days till we got some help to get it out.
(later we bought some ramps to help load and unload the chair from her vehicle...knowing that soon we would be looking for a van.)
Within a few days we were packing ...talk about a new learning experience...we hadn't flown in years and had to learn all the new regulations for flying! Nervously we set out for the airport and our flight to Las Vegas...via the Dallas airport. That airport is huge and so confusing...so that alone had me worried. As we arrived at the American Airlines check in...they were ready and waiting for us! Our contact with American Airlines, Toni Russell had made wonderful arrangements! We were seated in first class and soon in the air! In Dallas we were met at the gate and taken to the next airplane...soon on the way to Las Vegas!
When we arrived we were met and taken to the Golden Nugget hotel AND got to check in through the VIP room along with Tony Orlando's band!
The night of the banquet Tony Orlando along with Mary Eisenhower and Jim Palmersheim (from American Airlines) presented the ibot chair to Eddie. The evening was awesome! Eddie was able to be TALL when the Marine Corps Hymn was played! We are so blessed that last November Tony Orlando told Eddie he would see that he got one of these wonderful life changing wheelchairs! That promise started a chain of events that led up to this evening AND some wonderful events yet to come!
We took pictures and I will see what I can do to get them added to this blog in the next week or so....but this will have to do for now.
As I promised, I will work on getting some wonderful stories told and documented.
This wheelchair has truly changed a lot of things for us AND we hope that we can play a part in helping others become ibot owners! The road ahead may be a long one and perhaps even seemingly an impossible one..BUT I have learned that with God NOTHING is impossible!
So, please continue to "tune in". I will eventually explain that last paragraph...I have more stories to tell and a lot of pictures to post.
Till next time,