Category Archives: Special Events

Bussani Mobility’s Next Generation Management Team

team

With the recent retirement of founder John Bussani, the 42-year old Bussani Mobility Team has undergone a restructure and installation of a three-man executive team. According to the company’s new Chief Executive Officer Dan Bussani who formerly served as vice president under his father’s leadership, the company was purchased by himself and two partners who have been long-time employees.

Bussani teamed up with Gen. Mgr. Dan Walsh and Accountant Stephen Wilmer to make the purchase. When a larger company made an offer to John Bussani to buy his business, the three came together. According to John Bussani the employees’ offer was accepted in order to keep the “personal customer experience.”

Small Business Feel
“We want to keep the small business feel,” said Dan Bussani. “I think people like to do business with small companies. We don’t want the customer to become just a number. None of us want to get so big that it gets to that point.”

Newly named Chief Operating Officer Dan Walsh sees focus as the key. “Each one of us knows the other person’s goals,” he said. “Our roles are clearly defined now and it helps us to work together efficiently and it also helps the customer.”

“My dad never thought his business would grow to what it is today,” said the younger Bussani. The company now has three locations – two on Long Island and one in Westchester. “We want the business to grow in the area. We know of a couple of locations where we feel we’ll be doing a good job for our community,” he continued.

Expanding
“We want to keep the personal touch,” said the new Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wilmer. “Although we want to expand, we don’t want it to get so big that we lose the individualized service that was always part of the company.”

Part of their expansion includes adding an enhanced service department. “I noticed clients would buy their vehicles from us and were going to dealerships and automotive facilities for service,” said Walsh. “They were either getting taken advantage of or refused. I started bringing in local repair shops. We would do mobility work and they would do automotive. After a while we started doing full service in house for customers who choose to have their work done in one place.”

Dan Bussani, 41, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Seaford grew up in the company. Although he had other jobs while in school, he has been a part of the Bussani team all his life and has worked hand-in-hand with this father as the roles gradually reversed and he took over much of the day-to-day operation as John Bussani neared retirement.

Forty-eight-year-old Dan Walsh has been on the team for 13 years. He lives in Seaford with his wife and two daughters. After learning about business by working in the restaurant and plumbing businesses and his family’s auto body company Walsh learned from Dan Bussani about the plan to expand the service department in the Bethpage location. “At the time they were only working on converting vehicles,” said Walsh. “I came in to take a look and I fell in love with it — the people, the atmosphere and the customers.”
“Accountability is the word we’re using continuously,” said Dan Bussani. “We’re accountable to each other and especially to the customer.”

Stephen Wilmer, 37, has been with the Bussani team for nine years. A month after graduating from college he filled a need. The company had just lost its bookkeeper and the Bussanis realizing their need was for more than a bookkeeper offered Wilmer the position. He handles the financial needs of the company as well as working with the regulatory aspects of the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of taxation. “You have to do everything right,” he said. Wilmer lives in Lindenhurst with his wife and his two daughters.

“I am confident that the new leadership will continue to service the disabled community with the same care and compassion that has been the hallmark of the Bussani ‘family’, “ said John Bussani.
This article appeared in Able News – Volume 26 – Number 7 – January 2017


John Bussani Retires From Mobility Business

John BussaniOne of the local pioneers of the mobility industry, John Bussani, has passed the torch to the next generation. John, who founded Bussani Mobility 42 years ago, recently announced his retirement.

Bussani remembers riding on a train in the dark with the sounds of war blaring all around, as his mother held him below the window to protect him. At five years of age, he and his mother were fleeing Yugoslavia to join his father who had defected to Italy to make a better life for them.
He had his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, at age 11, from the ship that brought his family to America. They settled in Hoboken, N.J. and then moved to Freeport, N.Y.

Bussani served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. While hospitalized with a broken arm in Germany, he watched as disabled soldiers returned from the war, and he wondered how he could help.

After the war, he worked as a draftsman and then started repairing automobile transmissions. While having dinner with friends one night, he was introduced to a polio survivor. They discussed what types of vehicle modifications would be needed for people with disabilities. He learned about a man in New Jersey who was installing hand controls in cars. He met with Alan Ruprecht of Drive Master, who showed him how to do the installations — and that was the beginning of a journey that spanned over four decades and touched thousands of people.

Bussani traveled around Long Island working out of the trunk of his car to give independence to people who were unable to use their feet and legs to drive. The word spread and people started asking Bussani for help with their vehicles. Eventually, he bought a building in Baldwin, N.Y., where he did modifications, then moved the growing business to Freeport and later Bethpage, which is now the headquarters for Bussani Mobility. The company continued to grow and now has locations in Smithtown in Suffolk County and in Mamaroneck in Westchester County.

Over the years, Bussani became well known in his field. He lectured at occupational therapy classes at SUNY Farmingdale, Touro College, and Stony Brook University. He opened his facility to students on a regular basis and actively participated in NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association), the Adaptive Driving Alliance and other leading industry organizations. In particular, he became an advocate of higher safety standards in vehicle modifications.

The mobility industry continued to develop as manufacturers like BraunAbility began mass-producing wheelchair accessible vehicles and advanced technologies became available. Bussani Mobility expanded accordingly, keeping quality workmanship and integrity in the forefront of daily operations.

Busani Party XMAS 2015-66-HROne thing that has not changed at Bussani Mobility according to Bussani which is his original vision — to help people living with physical disabilities get mobile and to enjoy full and complete lives.
John’s son Dan has been involved in the business his entire life. “I even remember driving my toy car around the parking lot as a child while Dad was changing peoples’ lives for the good,” said Dan Bussani. Dan has now taken over the business as Co-Owner and CEO. Long-time employee Dan Walsh is also a Co-Owner and COO. Stephen Wilmer completes the team as the third Co-Owner and CFO.

John Bussani was an only child. He was married to Barbara for nearly 40 years when she passed 10 years ago. He has two sons – Daniel and John Christopher (J.C.) who is an engineer. John is spending time enjoying his grandchildren.

Photo Left to Right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani,
Stephen Wilmer, and John Bussani

The Industry Says…

John is a true pioneer in the mobility industry. Those of us with mobility needs have had our lives transformed by his vision, determination and creativity. He has given me, and many others, a means to regain lost independence and lifechanging freedom. Thank you for everything John…enjoy your retirement.
-Tony Amorello, customer & friend

John’s development of his business and his hand in the nurturing of the vehicle modification industry, setting the standards to what it has become nationally, has advanced the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout our country making people mobile and, most importantly, independent. Where would we be without John’s vision and hard work? Thank you John Bussani.
-Robert Pipia, Nassau County district court Judge customer & friend

John and the Drive-Master family go back at least 48 years when my dad Alan Ruprecht and John met. John started buying his hand controls. We have had a wonderful friendship since then, and will continue. To fish and call the nurse for libations. Congratulations on your retirement, you have certainly built a lasting legacy. Lv Ya man, Peter.”
-Peter Ruprecht president, Drive-Master Co., Inc.

When I was a green horn in the industry 14 years ago, I tucked myself under John’s wing and said ‘teach me.’ He was so willing to help, a great mentor, and we’ve been friends ever since.
-Greg Kiser, vice president of consumer sales, BraunAbility

John Bussani represents the very best in the accessiblemobility industry from his warm and welcoming personality to the products and services he delivers to his customers. It has been an honor for me to do business with JB.
-Brendan Healy, Eastern Regional sales manager, Q’Straint

This article appeared in Able Newspaper – Volume 26 – Number 5 – November 2016


WWII Vet Receives Accessible Van on 92nd Birthday

Sidney GermanskiSidney GermanskiAfter learning of a local Mamaroneck Veteran’s struggle with daily transportation, State Farm coordinated with Bussani Mobility Team to secure a van and worked with Star Body Collision to have it equipped to meet his needs. The 2007 Dodge Caravan is a wheelchair conversion with fold-out ramp and wheelchair tie-downs.

92-year old Sidney Germanski is legally blind, paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He depends on his wife and the local Veteran’s Affairs office for his daily transportation needs. “It has been a daily struggle and hardship to get me where I need to be,” commented Mr. Germanski. “This new van will change my and my wife’s life significantly, and we are so grateful.”

Sidney GermanskiMonday’s vehicle donation ceremony happened to be Mr. Germanski’s birthday. “I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present,” he said.  Mr. Germanski plans to use the new vehicle to travel to the White House where he will be presented with a Medal of Honor for his military service. “One of the most important days of my life,” he said.

Photos courtesy of Risa Hoag.


Three Wheelchair Vans Up for Grabs – NMEDA Contest Starts Today

The fifth annual National Mobility Awareness Month contest kicks off today — and three wheelchair accessible vans are up for grabs!

Mobility_Logo-With-TaglineStarted by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), the awareness movement and its online contest are designed to educate seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities about wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive mobility equipment options that enable them to live an active and mobile life. And it’s working. In the last four years, the online Local Heroes Contest has touched the lives of more than 10 million people across the U.S. and Canada.

Bussani Mobility Team is proud to join NMEDA in this year’s contest, which starts today! Those eligible to win the wheelchair accessible vehicles are encouraged to submit either written or videotaped stories of how they are triumphing over their mobility issues through their academic and career ambitions, as well as their family and local community contributions. Caregivers, friends and family members are also welcome to submit entries.

Stories will be accepted at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com from April 12-May 31, 2016. Voting takes place May 3-31. This year’s winners will be announced in mid June.

Sponsors Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Valley Honda Dealers, BraunAbility, VMI, and ElDorado Mobility have rallied together to provide the vehicles and conversions, which will later be customized to the winners by local mobility dealers like Bussani Mobility. National Mobility Awareness Month is also supported by prominent spokespersons and advocates for those with disabilities, Mike Savicki and Chad Blake.

In 2015, 914 entries received more than 1.3 million votes from across the country that resulted in four deserving Local Heroes in Oakley (California), Holland (Michigan), Derry (Pennsylvania) and Emeryville (California) being awarded fully customized wheelchair accessible vehicles; and an additional two dozen Local Heroes contestants whose communities came together to provide them with vehicles when they learned they had not been a contest winner through NMEDA.

“It is rewarding to work on such an important project each year that literally changes the lives of people with inspirational life stories. It is their contributions and triumphs we recognize and celebrate through the Local Heroes contest,” said Dave Hubbard, Executive Director and CEO of NMEDA. “We encourage caregivers, friends and family members to submit written or video stories of how they are triumphing over their mobility challenges and positively impacting the lives of the people around them.”

Go to  MobilityAwarenessMonth.com to learn more and submit stories. Tell how you are a Local Hero who triumphs over the daily obstacles of living with mobility challenges. Then get all of your friends and family to vote for you. Plus we can help you get over 1,000 bonus points — just ask anyone on Bussani Mobility’s staff and we’ll show you how. One of those three wheelchair accessible vans could be yours! 


Mardi Gras in NYC March 24!

NYCSCIA Mardi GrasWe’re just a few days away from the 11th Annual NYCSCIA Mardi Gras Fundraiser and there are so many new surprises lined up, it’s hard to pick just one to tell you about…the amazing light show, the caricature artist, the authentic Zydeco Band or the moon pies and king cakes for dessert. It’s a New Orleans theme.

You will just have to come and see for yourself on March 24th at Slate, 54 W 21st Street, NYC from 6 pm until 10 pm.

Victor Calise, Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, will be receiving the very first Peter Zarba Humanitarian Award.  Named in memory of our very dear friend, this award is given in recognition of the person, group or organization that best exemplifies service, dedication and passion for helping people with spinal cord injuries maximize their independence and quality of life.

As a passionate advocate for inclusion, accessibility and the healing power of adaptive sports, Victor has shown through his professional career, volunteer activities and personal example what true independence is and serves as a role model for the entire SCI community.  Molly Zarba and Dan Bussani will be on hand to help make the presentation.

Tickets are available for $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Tickets can be
purchased online
.


Single Mom With Disability Receives Life-Changing Holiday Miracle Gift: Wheelchair Accessible Van

Van Donation TerriA single, disabled mom living in Suffolk County, NY, received a life-changing holiday miracle gift on Monday. Theresa Thomas was presented with a refurbished Chrysler Town & Country wheelchair accessible van at Bussani Mobility Team in Smithtown, NY, where she became the second annual recipient of the company’s Peter Zarba Memorial Van Donation Program. New Beginnings (a community center for brain injury rehabilitation) arranged the introduction between the two parties that has made this heart-felt wish come true.

Van DonationTerriA former nurse, Theresa became severely disabled 7 years ago at the age of 39 by a genetic condition triggered during pregnancy that left her confined to bed. She has two sons, aged 15 and 7. And her mother, aged 70, uses a wheelchair as a result of a brain injury and two strokes. As Theresa’s condition worsened and she was no longer able to leave the house, let alone work, the family fell homeless and lived in shelters for several years and the children moved from school to school. The struggles they endured, just to live a basic life with food, shelter, and schooling, were unimaginable. But she never gave up fighting…to get well, to find a place for her family to live, to give back.

Van DonationTerriWith the wheelchair accessible van, Theresa will be mobile again. She will regain her independence and be able to take care of her family in the way they were accustomed to before her physical disability set in.Van DonationTerri

Overjoyed at the presentation ceremony, Theresa Thomas said: “They didn’t give us a van. They gave us life…This beautiful gift allows us the ability to have a productive future. I can return to work, continue school, and begin to provide for my family again. All these things would never have been possible without your grace. We will live in a perpetual state of ‘pay it forward.’ You are Christmas angels to us and we thank you kindly for this immense Christmas blessing!”

Theresa is working to finish her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology so she can become a social worker and live a life of service to others. She eventually wants to open a not-for-profit in Suffolk County connecting the disabled, mentally ill, homeless, and veterans to the many resources Long Island has to offer.

Van DonationTerri“There’s no end to what this remarkable woman will do to help her family and the disabled community here on Long Island now that she has her own wheelchair accessible vehicle to get around,” said Daniel Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility Team. “She has big dreams. With her perseverance, strength and compassion, we have no doubt that she’ll reach every one of them and she’ll touch many lives for the good.”

The van was donated by a Bussani Mobility Team customer and refurbished by the company. Two other local automotive companies contributed to the effort: Third Generation Auto Body (donated the body work) and Don’s Hand Car Wash (donated the detail work).

Bussani Mobility Team

(www.bussanimobility.com and www.bussanicommercial.com ) is a leading provider of automotive mobility products and services for people with disabilities. The company helps people with disabilities regain the freedom and independence to go where they want to go and do what they want to do. Established in 1974 with headquarters in Bethpage, NY (Nassau County) and with offices in Smithtown (Suffolk County), Mamaroneck (Westchester County) and Long Island City (Queens), Bussani Mobility Team is a market leader in the Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area. The company’s team of experts offers: a complete line of wheelchair vans and mobility equipment from top manufacturers available for purchase or rental, wheelchair accessible taxis, a full-service automotive shop, 24-hour emergency service, special financing options, insurance services, educational opportunities, and in-store consultants who are dedicated to meeting their customers’ every need with a highly personal touch.

New Beginnings
Van DonationTerri(www.nbli.org), a not-for-profit 501©3, was founded by Allyson Barone Scerri after her father suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2007. Allyson quickly realized that as a caregiver in a family hit by TBI, there was a serious lack of coordinated services and her vision was to have them all connected under one roof. In April of 2010 Allyson opened the doors to a state of the art, never before seen facility for TBI rehab where all necessary modalities of treatment including Hyperbaric Oxygen are found under that one roof. Her facility is praised by medical professionals who are world renowned experts in the TBI field. She has geared the facility to be a Community Center that reaches out to TBI victims as well as victims of all other cognitive & physically disabling conditions and their caregiving families.


Southside Hospital Helps People with Disabilities Get Mobile

CEU Southside 2
Southside Hospital has teamed up with Bussani Mobility to train healthcare professionals in the latest automotive mobility options that help people with disabilities get back on the road – and regain their independence.


CEU Southside 1
More than 20 physical therapists gathered during a lunchtime presentation at Southside Hospital to learn about wheelchair accessible vans (with raised roofs, lowered floors, ramps, and/or wheelchair lifts), adaptive driving equipment (such as hand or foot controls), and other mobility products (including scooter lifts and power seat lifts). These customized vehicles and products make everyday life easier for people who use wheelchairs or scooters, people who just need some help getting in and out of a vehicle, and caregivers of those living with disabilities.


CEU Southside 3
Other topics discussed at the training included: information about industry associations like NMEDA, how to work with driver evaluators, and how to help patients get financial assistance. Attendees received CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for participating in the complimentary training.

“We are always striving to partner with our vendors to provide the latest technology to our patients in order to assist them in being as independent as possible,” said Valerie Kruszon, PT, MS, Administrative Director Rehabilitation Services at Southside Hospital. “The Southside rehabilitation department thanks Bussani Mobility for assisting us in achieving that goal.”


CEU Southside 4
Daniel Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility, added: “We were so pleased with the turnout at Southside Hospital and the reaction from the staff. Through these trainings, we’re providing medical doctors and physical therapists with the most up-to-date information about automotive mobility products so they can best help their patients who become disabled from an injury or illness. Our shared goal is to safely get people mobile as soon as possible, and help them regain their freedom and independence.”

 Bussani Mobility Team
( www.bussanimobility.com and www.bussanicommercial.com ) is a leading provider of automotive mobility products and services for people with disabilities. The company helps people with disabilities regain the freedom and independence to go where they want to go and do what they want to do. Established in 1974 with headquarters in Bethpage, NY (Nassau County) and with offices in Smithtown (Suffolk County), Mamaroneck (Westchester County) and Sunnyside (Queens), Bussani Mobility Team is a market leader in the Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area. The company’s team of experts offers: a complete line of wheelchair vans and mobility equipment from top manufacturers available for purchase or rental, wheelchair accessible taxis, a full-service automotive shop, 24-hour emergency service, special financing options, insurance services, educational opportunities, and in-store consultants who are dedicated to meeting their customers’ every need with a highly personal touch.

Southside Hospital
a member of North Shore-LIJ Health System – and only the second tertiary hospital within Suffolk County – offers centers of excellence in cardiology, orthopedics and neurosciences as well as women’s health services.

Southside offers North Shore-LIJ’s cardiac surgery program with a state of the art hybrid operating room. The Cushing Neuroscience Institute at Southside includes a comprehensive Spine Center, an Epilepsy Center and a state-designated, Gold Plus Award Stroke Center. The North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute at Southside Hospital specializes in multidisciplinary orthopedic care for the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal disorders.

Southside Hospital is the only Long Island hospital that has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for four rehabilitation programs including inpatient, stroke, brain injury and outpatient rehabilitation. Among these programs is the highly respected Regional Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation.


Taking Flight in Freedom’s Wings Life Challenge

Freedom Wings
Freedom’s Wings (FWI) is a non-profit organization run by and for people with physical disabilities. They provide the opportunity for those who are physically challenged to fly in specially adapted sailplanes, either as a passenger or as a member of the flight training program.

Freedom Wings

 

On September 12, when we arrived at the Blairstown Airport for the Life Challenge event, it was a gorgeous morning. We felt something special was going to happen. And special is just what occurred.

Freedom Wings

 

Twelve amazing participants left their fear behind on the ground as they all took flight in Gliders provided by Freedom Wings International. What an incredible sight to see!

Freedom Wings
We witnessed first-hand and up-close how they approached this challenge with eyes wide open — and they did not waiver at all. It was inspiring to play a small part in helping each and every person into the cockpit for their Glider flight.

Freedom Wings

 

That’s what Life Challenge is all about.  In these high-level adventure trips, participants with SCI, along with family members and friends, face obstacles together. Through problem solving and teamwork comes a realization: “If I can do this, I can do anything.”

Freedom Wings

 

Since its inception in 2003, 36 Life Challenge Trips have taken place involving 246 people with SCI. Life Challenge has received generous support from the Ethan Ruby Foundation, the New York Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, helping to off-set the costs for participants. The program is coordinated by Jim Cesario, MA.

https://www.freedomswings.org/


Bussani Mobility & NYDIS Partner to Relieve Lingering Issues from Super Storm Sandy

On Thursday, January 9th, the New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) held their January Board of Directors meeting.  During the meeting, three New York area families received new wheelchair accessible vans to replace vehicles lost during the devastation of 2012’s Super Storm Sandy.  All three vans were funded through a combination of federal funding and private, charitable donations made to NYDIS.  Working with Bussani Mobility, who performed modifications to meet the specific needs of each family, NYDIS was able to help these families regain the freedom that comes from having the right transportation needed for people living with disabilities.  In the video below, Peter B. Gudaitis of NYDIS announces the donations that were being made that evening.

[niceyoutubelite id=”MSM0tfEHgq4″]

Click Here to read Press Release

As many still struggle to recover after more than a year, some families were affected in much more devastating ways. The three families who received the vans not only lost their previous vehicles but also their ability to get out of their houses. For the better part of the last year they have worked with NYDIS, who gathered the necessary funds to purchase these vehicles for the families. While federal funding did help towards acquiring these vans, a large part of the funding came from private charitable donations that were received by NYDIS and the many groups that work with them. Bussani Mobility, the premier provider of wheelchair accessible vans to the New York Tri-state area, sourced the vans and made necessary modifications to meet each families particular needs.

 “To play a role in helping these three families get back on the road with the freedom that a wheelchair accessible van provides to them is one of the great benefits of what we do” said Bussani Mobility Vice President Dan Bussani. “When the people at NYDIS reached out to us we knew that this was something we had to do.” Mike Lampert and Carl Surface, two of Bussani’s Mobility Specialists who worked with all three families on getting them the exact vans they needed, echoed Dan’s sentiments. “When you talked with these people and understood all that they had been dealing with since Sandy devastated the region, their plights became our top priority,” said Lampert.

Below are links to additional videos from the evening where the families received their vans.

Mr Ali receives keys to his van from Bussani’s Mike Lampert at Jan 9 2014 NYDIS Meeting. Click Here To View

Salihi Family and their new Van Jan 9 2014. Click Here To View

Mr Curry received the keys to his new van and takes the wheel. Click Here To View

Mr Curry takes the wheel and says ‘I’ll drive!’. Click Here To View


Bussani Mobility & 10th Annual C.U.R.B. Bike Ride

This Saturday, August 10th, is the 10th Annual C.U.R.B Bike Ride in Long Beach and Bussani Mobility is pleased to be sponsoring this amazing event as they celebrate their 10th anniversary.  This year’s ride will include the newly finished Long Beach Boardwalk.

C.U.R.B. of Citizens United to Remove Barriers is a local, non-profit organization which gives the physically challenged a chance to live a life free of barriers.  Funding is provided for wheelchair ramps and lifts in and around the homes of those in need.

One of the first and ongoing achievements of C.U.R.B. was and continues to be the placement of a curb cut on every corner throughout the City of Long Beach. This agreement between Long Beach and C.U.R.B. has allowed persons with physical disabilities to travel independently throughout the city since the mid 1980s, way before the enactment of the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act.’

Along with sponsoring the event we will have a tent set-up with information about our various products & services along with one of our BraunAbility Vans for anyone interested in checking out these amazing vehicles.  We will be located in the Long Beach Recreation Center parking lot near the start/finish point.