The long-awaited new Chevrolet Traverse Accessible SUV is here! It’s converted with the BraunAbility Power In-Floor ramp and has tons of space. The two front seats can be removed for those who want to get behind the wheel of this awesome new truck. The tow package will handle up to 3500 pounds.
There’s a lot more to see. Check out the video.
And see it in person at any of Bussani Mobility’s three locations (Bethpage and Smithtown on Long Island, and Mamaroneck in Westchester).
You know how some people always have an encouraging word? And they stay upbeat no matter what happens? Well, if you ever need some inspiration, Dario Diaz (a disabled Navy veteran with an E-4 rank) is the guy to talk to. Here’s his story …
After serving in Vietnam, Diaz returned home and started a plumbing business with his dad in the mid-1970s. Life hummed along for quite a few years, and then in 2001, he was in a car accident. A few weeks later, he started to feel a twitch in his leg, and it turned out that the accident had stretched his spinal cord. A private doctor diagnosed him with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a condition that weakens the nervous system and impacts physical function. He decided to go to the VA (Veterans Affairs) for a second opinion, and the doctor there concurred, marking the diagnosis as “service connected,” which means they attribute the injury to the fact that he was in the military.
Diaz’ condition worsened over the years. Today, he can’t stand without holding onto something, and he uses a scooter to get around.
He was first introduced to the world of accessible vans when he bought one from Bussani Mobility nearly 10 years ago for his mom, who had MS. Eventually, he needed the vehicle for himself as well.
Accessible Van Means Everything Now, Diaz drives a converted accessible 2017 Toyota Sienna, paid for by the VA. The van has a six-way seat that allows him to easily transfer in and drive from the original seat. And as he says, the vehicle has “a lot of goodies in it.”
Always active in his life, Diaz used to race motorcycles, ride horses, and the like. These days, he goes out with his buddies from the military, most of whom are in their sixties and still going strong.
“If I didn’t have this van, I’d be in trouble,” said Diaz. “My buddies would pick me up and drive me around, but I prefer to do things on my own, like I do and have always done. This van is equivalent to my being able to walk and jump up and down. It means everything to me.”
He went on to explain that, even for a veteran who can’t drive, having an accessible van is so important. It allows their family to get them out of the house, take them to a movie, or out to eat.
And for those family members who may be in their last days, “you want to shower them with as much joy and opportunity as you can,” he said.
Have a Purpose in Life … And See the Good in People Not only has Diaz found a way to deal with his physical disability, but he has used the happenings in his life to grow personally and find his purpose. Namely, he offers a powerful Christian ministry specifically for men.
About his personal inspiration to start the ministry, he says: “Jesus was a fisherman of men. And I have a ‘heart for men.’ I have an interest to talk to men about the problems all men face. I conquered a lot of things that I used to do, in a Biblical and loving way, so I can talk to men and break through to them. In order to do that, I need my van and my scooter to get me around.
“I’m happier now than when I was moving around before having a disability. And I have a testimony. Everything hinges on the fact that I do have a disability. Thank God that ALS didn’t affect my cognitive ability.”
Diaz described how he approaches the everyday: “I savor life. I savor people, more than before. I go birdwatching with my wife. And I savor all the good that God created. And I don’t judge. If you’re an alcoholic, I love you. You’re being yourself. I’ll say things to encourage you, but I focus on the good. My son says, “My dad always sees the good in people.’”
He had his faith before serving in the military and experiencing that car accident, but he proclaims that he has much more faith now.
Press On When asked one thing that he most wants to share with others who are living with a disability, Diaz said: “Press on. There are so many things available to help, like a grip bar in a handicapped bathroom or a chair that takes you up the stairs. And if you have a family member that becomes disabled — like grandpa starts falling and needs a scooter — you do the research for them. And press on.”
Sounds like good advice for all of us these days. Thank you, Dario, for being a shining example of all that’s good. Let’s all press on, whatever that may mean in our individual lives.
To find out more about Dario’s Christian ministry for men, contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of our blogs focus on helping you get the most from your wheelchair accessible van. This time, we’re tackling the subject from a slightly different angle. We had a chat with Dan Walsh, co-owner at Bussani Mobility, who has spent two decades helping our customers with their mobility needs through our Service Department. He told us the five worst mistakes you can make with your mobility vehicle. Here’s his advice and what to avoid, in his own words…
1) Lending Your Van I’ve seen many people use their wheelchair accessible vehicle as a moving van, resulting in damage being done to the lift or ramp. I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least five different rental companies that provide vans for moving, just off the top of my head. Your vehicle is way too important to be used this way.
2) Not Securing Wheelchair Properly It’s essential to have a securement system properly set up for your wheelchair in your van. If you don’t do this, you risk your own safety and that of others with you in your vehicle and on the road that you share.
3) Not Insuring Your Investment Now that you’ve purchased your wheelchair van, don’t you want to protect it? Your mobility dealer should have connections with reliable insurance brokers to help you with this, but ultimately, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your vehicle is properly insured. We recommend having a copy of your bill of sale sent to your insurance company (and request a certified receipt).
4) Accident Damage Not Reported to Mobility Dealer I tell all of our customers, “If you have an accident, CALL ME FIRST!” Because I know what should and, most importantly, what shouldn’t be repaired after a collision. Bussani Mobility is a NMEDA/QAP-certified dealer, and we offer 24-hour service for both mobility emergencies as well as any unfortunate accidents that sometimes occur. I’ve personally spent hours undoing what an uneducated appraiser has offered as payment on a van because they didn’t know the true value or the protocol for repairs.
5) Letting the Dirt Build Up Simple as it may seem, if you don’t keep your wheelchair accessible vehicle clean, debris can build up in the door tracks, lift barriers, and motors. This is the cause of a major part of the repairs we handle for our customers. It’s easy to fix – just keep it clean.
Everyone at Bussani Mobility is standing by, ready to assist you whenever you need or want help. Contact us or stop by one of our locations for answers to all of your mobility questions. You can also easily schedule a service appointment online.